General Orders Head Quarters,TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESSHead Quarters, at the Gulph, December 17, 1777 - History

General Orders Head Quarters,TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESSHead Quarters, at the Gulph, December 17, 1777 - History


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The Commander in Chief with the highest satisfaction expresses his thanks to the officers and soldiers for the fortitude and patience with which they have sustained the fatigues of the Campaign. These are blessings worth contending for at every hazard. But we hazard nothing. The power of America alone, duly exerted, wo~ have nothing to dread from the force of Britain. Yet we stand not wholly upon our ground. France yields us every aid we ask, and there are reasons to believe the period is not very distant, when she will take a more active part, by declaring war against the British Crown. Every motive therefore, irresistably urges us, nay commands us, to a firm and manly perseverance in our opposition to our cruel oppressors, to slight difficulties, endure hardships, and contemn every danger. The General ardently wishes it were now in his power, to conduct the troops into the best winter quarters. But where are these to be found. Should we retire to the interior parts of the State, we should find them crowded with virtuous citizens, who, sacrificing their all, have left Philadelphia, and fled thither for protection. To their distresses humanity forbids us to add. This is not all, it should leave a vast extent of fertile country to be despoiled and ravaged by the enemy, from which they would draw vast supplies, and where many of our firm friends would be exposed to all the miseries of the most insulting and wanton depredation. A train of evils might be enumerated, but these will suffice. These considerations make it indispensibly necessary for the army to take such a position, as will enable it most effectually to prevent distress and to give the most extensive security; and
in that position we must make ourselves the best shelter in our power. With activity and diligence Huts may be erected that will be warm and dry. In these the troops will be compact, more secure against surprises than if in a divided state and at hand to protect the country. These cogent reasons have determined the General to take post in the neighbourhood of this camp; and influenced by them, he persuades himself, that the officers and soldiers, with one heart, and one mind, will resolve to surmount every difficulty, with a fortitude and patience, be coming their profession, and the sacred cause in which they are engaged. He himself will share in the hardship, and partake of every inconvenience.

Tomorrow being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for public Thanksgiving and Praise; and duty calling us devoutely to express our grateful acknowledgements to God for the manifold blessings he has granted us. The General directs that the army remain in it's present quarters, and that the Chaplains perform divine service with their several Corps and brigades. And earnestly exhorts, all officers and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensibly necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities of the day.
October 3, 1777

. .The Commander in Chief has the satisfaction to inform the army, that at the southward, the Continental Frig ate Randolph, lately fell in with a fleet of five sail of the enemy's ships, and took four of them, one of them mounting 2o guns, and another 8, all richly laden. At the northward every thing wears the most favourable aspect, every enterprise has been successful, and in a capital action, the left wing only of General Gates's army maintained it's ground, against the main body of the enemy; commanded by General Burgoyne in person; our troops behaving with the highest spirit and bravery, during the whole engagement; which lasted from one o'clock 'till dark. In short, every circumstance promises success in that quarter, equal to our most sanguine wishes. This surely must animate every man, under the General's immediate comma. This army, the main American Army, will certainly not sufFe~ itself to be out done by their northern Brethren; they will never] endure such disgrace; but with an ambition becoming freemen,contending in the most righteous cause, rival the heroic spin which swelled their bosoms, and which, so nobly exerted, hi" procured them deathless renown. Covet! my Countrymen, and fellow soldiers! Covet! a share of the glory due to heroic deed~ Let it never be said, that in a day of action, you turned your backs on the foe; let the enemy no longer triumph. They brand you with ignominious epithets. Will you patiently endure tha~ reproach? Will you suffer the wounds given to your Coun' to go unrevenged? Will you resign your parents, wives, chil" dren and friends to be the wreeched vassals of a proud, insulting foe? And your own necks to the halter? General Howe promised protection to such as submitted to his power; and a few dastard souls accepted the disgraceful boon. But his promises were deceitful; the submitting and resisting had their properiy alike plundered and destroyed. But even these empty promises have come to an end; the term of Mercy is expired, General Howe has, within a few days proclaimed, all who had not then, submitted, to be beyond the reach of it, and has left us no choice but Conquest or Death. Nothing then remains, but nobly to contend for all that is dear to us. Every motive that can touch the human breast calls us to the most vigorous exertions. Our dearest rights, our dearest friends, and our own lives, honor, glory and even shame, urge us to the fight. And My fellow Soldiers! when an opportunity presents, be firm, be brave; shew yourselves men, and victorys yours.

The Colonels or commanding officers are to see that every regiment be drawn up this afternoon, the rolls called, and these orders distinctly read to them.

Every officer who commands a troop or company, in the several regiments and corps in the continental army, must immediately make out his muster rolls to the first of October, that the whole army may be mustered with the utmost expedition. Such officers, as have heretofore neglected a due attention, to making a regular return of their muster rolls, will be answer. able for any future neglect.


General Orders

The officers are without delay to examine the arms and accoutrements of their men, and see that they are put in good order.

Provisions are to be drawn, and cooked for to morrow & next day—A gill of Whiskey is to be issued immediately to each officer, Soldier, and waggoner.2

The weather being likely to be fair, the tents are not to be pitched: But the axes in the waggons are to be sent for, without delay, that the men may make fires & hut themselves for the ensuing night in the most comfortable manner.

The army is to be ready to march precisely at four o’clock to morrow morning.

An officer from each regiment is to be sent forthwith to the encampment on the other side Schuylkill, to search that and the houses for all stragglers, and bring them up to their corps—All the waggons not yet over are also to be sent for and got over as soon as possible.

Mr Archibald Reed is appointed paymaster to the 8th Pennsylvania regiment, and is to be respected as such.3

Muhlenberg’s orderly book contains the following additional orders at the end of this day’s general orders: “The Guards to Parade at the Gulph Mill at 3 o’clock this afternoon. The Weekly Returns to be given in at 8 o’clock Tomorrow morning & a List of the Commissd Officers of each Regiment” ( “Muhlenberg’s Orderly Book,” description begins “Orderly Book of Gen. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, March 26–December 20, 1777.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 33 (1909): 257–78, 454–74 34 (1910): 21–40, 166–89, 336–60, 438–77 35 (1911): 59–89, 156–87, 290–303. description ends 35:298 see also Weedon’s Orderly Book description begins Valley Forge Orderly Book of General George Weedon of the Continental Army under Command of Genl George Washington, in the Campaign of 1777–8: Describing the Events of the Battles of Brandywine, Warren Tavern, Germantown, and Whitemarsh, and of the Camps at Neshaminy, Wilmington, Pennypacker’s Mills, Skippack, Whitemarsh, & Valley Forge . New York, 1902. description ends , 156).

1 . GW headquartered at or near the Gulph, Pa., from 13 to 19 December.

2 . “Nothing more troublesome than the Smoke,” writes Massachusetts lieutenant Samuel Armstrong in his journal entry for 14 Dec., “& Nothing more Extraordinary than our receiving a Jill of Wiskey pr. man, Which we have been deprived of for a Week or more!!” ( Boyle, “Armstrong’s Diary,” description begins Joseph Lee Boyle. “From Saratoga to Valley Forge: The Diary of Lt. Samuel Armstrong.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 121 (1997): 237–70. description ends 257).

3 . Archibald Read (d. 1823), of what is now Allegheny County, Pa., became an ensign in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment in June 1778 and a first lieutenant the following December.


Becoming Valley Forge

General Washington leads his troops through the snow (19th Century engraving)

On a cold and rainy December 16, 1777, the 11,000 soldiers in George Washington’s Continental Army at Gulph Mills and Rebel Hill had one solace — tents had arrived. They had been exposed to the snow and cold since the army arrived at the Gulph on December 12, and they had sought shelter under the rocks and trees of Rebel Hill and Gulph Mills. Food was still scarce because a food caravan headed towards them was delayed.

Once the tents arrived, General Washington’s orders for the day were short and sweet:

“GENERAL ORDERS Head. Quarters, at the Gulph, December 16, 1777.

The tents are to be carried to the encampment of the troops, and pitched immediately.”

The day was not just one of pitching tents and trying to find comfort for some soldiers. Apparently, a group of British soldiers were out foraging for food and ran smack into the Continental Army. See these accounts:

“December 16. Cold Rainy Day, Baggage ordered over the Gulph of our Division, which were to march at Ten, but the baggage was order’d back and for the first time since we have been here the Tents were pitch’d, to keep the men more comfortable. Good morning Brother Soldier (says one to another) how are you? All wet I thank’e, hope you are so (says the other). The Enemy have been at Chestnut Hill Opposite to us near our last encampment the other side Schuylkill, made some Ravages, kill’d two of our Horsemen, taken some prisoners. We have done the like by them….”

And, another soldier wrote this account of December 16–“We have been for several days past posted on the mountains near the gulph mill, and [today], a party of the enemy, to the number of fourty five were surprised and made prisioners.”

While the rank and file soldiers were otherwise engaged, General Washington and his generals, in consultation with the Continental Congress, were trying to decide where the army should make its winter quarters.

But where were Washington and his generals meeting and living while they were in Gulph Mills? No one knows for sure where General Washington actually had his headquarters, but historians believe that it was at Walnut Grove Farm, part of the John Hughes estate, now part of the Gulph Mills Golf Course.

General Sterling, also known as Lord Sterling, who was in charge of the Gulph Mills outpost, was on Rebel Hill at the home of John Rees. And, a future President of the United States, James Monroe, was with him. Monroe was then a lieutenant and aide to General Sterling.

General Lafayette’s headquarters were a home near what is now the Gulph Mills entrance to 476 East, and the home was destroyed to make way for the expressway. General Nathaniel Green was at the Zimmerman Supplee home, near what is now the Gulph Mills station on SEPTA’s P & W line. Aaron Burr was at the Jonathan Sturgis home directly at the base of Rebel Hill, which was a picket post during the Valley Forge encampment and considered one of the outer lines of the encampment, and, in more modern times, the Picket Post Restaurant (now Savona).


Contents

Following General William Howe's capture of New York City, and George Washington's successful actions at Trenton and Princeton, the two armies settled into an uneasy stalemate in the winter months of early 1777. While this time was punctuated by numerous skirmishes, the British army continued to occupy outposts at New Brunswick and Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

General Howe had proposed to George Germain, the British civilian official responsible for conduct of the war, an expedition for 1777 to capture Philadelphia, the seat of the rebellious Second Continental Congress. Germain approved his plan, although with fewer troops than Howe requested. [2] He also approved plans by John Burgoyne for an expedition to "force his way to Albany" from Montreal. [3] Germain's approval of Howe's expedition included the expectation that Howe would be able to assist Burgoyne, effecting a junction at Albany between the forces of Burgoyne and troops that Howe would send north from New York City. [4]

Howe decided by early April against taking his army overland to Philadelphia through New Jersey, as this would entail a difficult crossing of the broad Delaware River under hostile conditions, and it would likely require the transportation or construction of the necessary watercraft. [5] Howe's plan, sent to Germain on April 2, also effectively isolated Burgoyne from any possibility of significant support, since Howe would be taking his army by sea to Philadelphia, and the New York garrison would be too small for any significant offensive operations up the Hudson River to assist Burgoyne. [5]

Washington realized that Howe "certainly ought in good policy to endeavor to Cooperate with Genl. Burgoyne" and was baffled why he did not do so. [6] Washington at the time and historians ever since have wondered why Howe was not in place to come to the relief of Burgoyne, whose invasion army from Canada was surrounded and captured by the Americans in October. Historians agree that Lord Germain did a poor job in coordinating the two campaigns. [7] Following Howe's capture of New York and Washington's retreat across the Delaware, Howe on December 20, 1776, wrote to Germain, proposing an elaborate set of campaigns for 1777. These included operations to gain control of the Hudson River, expand operations from the base at Newport, Rhode Island, and take Philadelphia, the seat of the rebel Continental Congress. The latter Howe saw as attractive, since Washington was then just north of the city: Howe wrote that he was "persuaded the Principal Army should act offensively [against Philadelphia], where the enemy's chief strength lies." [8] Germain acknowledged that this plan was particularly "well digested", but it called for more men than Germain was prepared to provide. [9] After the setbacks in New Jersey, Howe in mid-January 1777 proposed operations against Philadelphia that included an overland expedition and a sea-based attack, thinking this might lead to a decisive victory over the Continental Army. [10] This plan was developed to the extent that in April Howe's army was seen constructing pontoon bridges Washington, lodged in his winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey, thought they were for eventual use on the Delaware River. [11] However, by mid-May Howe had apparently abandoned the idea of an overland expedition: "I propose to invade Pennsylvania by sea . we must probably abandon the Jersies." [12]

Howe's decision to not assist Burgoyne may have been rooted in Howe's perception that Burgoyne would receive credit for a successful campaign, even if it required Howe's help this would not help Howe's reputation, as the Philadelphia expedition would if it succeeded. Historian John Alden notes the jealousies among various British leaders, saying, "It is likely that [Howe] was as jealous of Burgoyne as Burgoyne was of him and that he was not eager to do anything which might assist his junior up the ladder of military renown." [13] Along the same lines Don Higginbotham concludes that in Howe's view, "[The Hudson River campaign] was Burgoyne's whole show, and consequently he [Howe] wanted little to do with it. With regard to Burgoyne's army, he would do only what was required of him (virtually nothing)." [14] Howe himself wrote to Burgoyne on July 17: "My intention is for Pennsylvania, where I expect to meet Washington, but if he goes to the northward contrary to my expectations, and you can keep him at bay, be assured I shall soon be after him to relieve you." [15] He sailed from New York not long after.

Washington's Continental Army had been encamped primarily at Morristown, New Jersey, although there was a forward base at Bound Brook, only a few miles from the nearest British outposts. In part as a retaliatory measure against the ongoing skirmishes, General Charles Cornwallis executed a raid against that position in April 1777, in which he very nearly captured the outpost's commander, Benjamin Lincoln. In response to this raid, Washington moved his army forward to a strongly fortified position at Middlebrook in the Watchung Mountains that commanded likely British land routes toward Philadelphia.

For reasons that are not entirely clear, General Howe moved a sizable army to Somerset Court House, south of New Brunswick. If he performed this move as a feint to draw Washington out from his strong position, it failed, as Washington refused to move his army out in force. Washington had intelligence that Howe had not brought the necessary equipment for either bringing or constructing watercraft, so this move seemed unlikely to him to be a move toward the Delaware River. When Howe eventually withdrew his army back toward Perth Amboy, Washington did follow. Launching a lightning strike, Howe sent forces under Cornwallis in an attempt to cut Washington off from the high ground this attempt was foiled in the Battle of Short Hills. Howe then withdrew his troops to Perth Amboy, embarked them on transports, and sailed out of New York harbor, destined for Philadelphia.

Washington did not know where Howe was going. Considering the possibility that Howe was again feinting, and would actually sail his army up the Hudson to join with Burgoyne, he remained near New York. Only when he received word that Howe's fleet had reached the mouth of the Delaware, did he need to consider the defense of Philadelphia. However, the fleet did not enter the Delaware, instead continuing south. Uncertain of Howe's goal, which could be Charleston, South Carolina, he considered moving north to assist in the defense of the Hudson, when he learned that the fleet had entered Chesapeake Bay. In August, he began moving his troops south to prepare the city's defenses. General John Sullivan, who commanded the Continental Army's troops facing Staten Island, had, in order to capitalize on perceived weaknesses of the British position there following Howe's departure, attempted a raid on August 22, that failed with the Battle of Staten Island.

General Howe landed 15,000 troops in late August at the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay, about 55 miles (90 km) southwest of Philadelphia. General Washington positioned 11,000 men between Howe and Philadelphia but was outflanked and driven back at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777 and suffered over 1,000 casualties, and the British lost about half that number. [16]

The Continental Congress once again abandoned the city, relocating first to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and later York, Pennsylvania. British and Revolutionary forces maneuvered around each other west of Philadelphia for the next several days, clashing in minor encounters such as the abortive Battle of the Clouds and the so-called "Paoli Massacre." On September 26, Howe finally outmaneuvered Washington and marched into Philadelphia unopposed. Capture of the rebel capital did not bring the end to the rebellion as the British thought it would. In 18th-century warfare, it was normal that the side who captured the opposing force's capital city won the war, but the Revolutionary War would continue for six more years until 1783 because of the rebels' unconventional warfare tactics.

After taking the city, the British garrisoned about 9,000 troops in Germantown, 5 miles (8 km) north of Philadelphia. On October 2 the British captured Fort Billingsport, on the Delaware in New Jersey, to clear a line of chevaux de frise obstacles in the river. The idea of placing those obstacles is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and they were designed by Robert Smith. [17] [18] An undefended line had already been taken at Marcus Hook, [19] and a third line was nearer Philadelphia, guarded by Fort Mifflin and Fort Mercer. Washington unsuccessfully attacked Germantown on October 4, and then retreated to watch and wait for the British to counterattack. Meanwhile, the British needed to open a supply route along the Delaware River to support their occupation of Philadelphia. After a prolonged defense of the river by Commodore John Hazelwood and the Continental and Pennsylvania Navies, the British finally secured the river by taking forts Mifflin and Mercer in mid-November (although the latter was not taken until after a humiliating repulse). In early December, Washington successfully repelled a series of probes by General Howe in the Battle of White Marsh. [20]

General Washington's problems at this time were not just with the British. In the so-called Conway Cabal, some politicians and officers unhappy with Washington's performance in the campaign secretively discussed his removal. Washington, offended by the behind-the-scenes maneuvering, laid the whole matter openly before Congress. His supporters rallied behind him, and the episode was abated. [21]


General Orders Head Quarters,TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESSHead Quarters, at the Gulph, December 17, 1777 - History

Dr. Edward Bancroft 19

Among the many spies the British recruited and placed inside the American Commission in Paris under Benjamin Franklin, was one who had access to every secret move, conversation and agreement negotiated between the American delegation and the intermediaries representing the French government. French support and aid was critical to the American revolutionary cause, without it the dream of American independence would have expired. Yet, despite the British intelligence success, the government of Lord North was ineffective in stopping American-French activities. The spy, Dr. Edward Bancroft, was never discovered until seventy years after his death when the British government provided access to its diplomatic archives.

Bancroft was born on 9 January 1744 in Westfield, Massachusetts. When he was two years old his father died of an epileptic seizure leaving his mother to care for the family. Five years later, his mother, Mary, remarried and the family moved with her new husband, David Bull, to Hartford, Connecticut. Bull owned "The Bunch of Grapes" tavern which, on 23 May 1781, hosted a meeting between George Washington and General Jean-Baptiste de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, to plan their siege against British General Lord Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown.

While growing up in Hartford, Bancroft studied under Silas Deane, after the latter's graduation from Yale. Two years later, at age 16, Bancroft was apprenticed to a physician in Killingsworth, Connecticut. Then, on 14 July 1763, Bancroft left the colonies for Surinam where he found employment as a medical chief on one of the plantations. Bancroft expanded his medical practice to several additional plantations and also found time to write a study of Surinam's environment. Bancroft soon grew weary of Surinam and in 1766 began one year of travel between North and South America before sailing for England.

After his arrival in London, Bancroft became a physician's student at St. Bartholomew's Hospital. He also published, in 1769, a book titled, "Natural History of Guiana," which brought him to the attention of Paul Wentworth, the colonial agent for New Hampshire in London. Wentworth hired Bancroft to survey his plantation in Surinam with the hope that Bancroft could uncover ways for Wentworth to increase his profits from the land. Bancroft returned to Surinam for several months and then returned to London.

Also in London at the time was Benjamin Franklin, who was the colonial agent for several colonies. Franklin met Bancroft and they became friends. Franklin used Bancroft as a spy to support several of Franklin's colonial activities. 20 When Franklin returned to America, it is unknown if Bancroft continued his spying for Franklin but evidence exists that this may have been the case. For example, when the Committee for Secret Correspondence sent Silas Deane to Paris to examine the political climate of France, Franklin provided Deane instructions to contact Bancroft. Deane was told that to arrange the meeting:

". by writing a letter to him, under cover to Mr. Griffiths, at Turnham Green, near London, and desiring him to come over to you in France or Holland, on the score of old acquaintance. From him you may obtain a good deal of information of what is now going forward in England, and settle a mode of continuing correspondence. It may be well to remit a small bill to defray his expenses in coming to see you, and avoid all political matters in your letter to him." 21

If Bancroft was not an agent, why is it suggested that the letter be sent to a cover address rather than to Bancroft directly. Deane had been Bancroft's teacher, so it would be natural for a teacher to try to contact a former successful student. Also, Deane's instructions to devise a contact plan to meet with Bancroft adds further proof of some clandestine relationship.

A day after Deane arrived in France, 7 June 1776, he mailed a letter requesting Bancroft come to Paris to discuss some assistance to Deane in procuring goods for Indian trade and enclosing 30 pounds to defray travel expenses. Bancroft agreed and on 8 July both men met in Paris. Deane and Bancroft quickly established a close rapport, so much so that Deane informed Bancroft of his true mission in Paris.

He told Bancroft that he was attempting to devise a clandestine relationship with the French to obtain military aid for the colonies. Bancroft declined an invitation to attend the negotiations between Deane and the French but agreed to serve as Deane's assistant and interpreter during meetings with French agents, Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais and Monsieur Donatien le Rey de Chaumont. It was at these meetings the details of transferring to the Americans some forty thousand strands of arms, including two hundred cannon with French markings removed, as well as four million lives credit for miscellaneous military supplies. 22

Deane informed Bancroft that the American objective was to motivate a Bourbon-Prussian coalition against England on the continent to force the British to redirect their power to a continental conflict and leave the colonies alone. The Americans expected the French to agree to the alliance. In fact, French Foreign Minister, Charles Gravier, the Comte de Vergennes was leaning towards war with England when he learned that General Sir William Howe evacuated Boston but wanted to enlist Spain's assistance and agreement to go to war with Portugal, England's ally. The situation changed when the French learned that Britain defeated Washington's forces on Long Island on 27 August 1776. 23

Bancroft, saying business matters obliged him to return to London, left France on 26 July 1776. Before departing, he agreed to provide Deane with intelligence gleaned from his contacts in England. Despite his agreement to cooperate, Bancroft was troubled by his new role. He had always supported the British Empire's interest but also adhered to the belief that the colonies and the crown had to reconcile their positions through some compromise. He now realized that this was impossible and that French entry into the conflict would destroy the British empire. Bancroft considered informing the British government about Deane's efforts because he was convinced "that the government of France would endeavor to promote an absolute separation of the then United Colonies from Great Britain unless a speedy termination of the revolt by reconciliation, or conquest, should frustrate this project." 24

Before Bancroft had an opportunity to contact the British, he was met by Paul Wentworth. Wentworth was recently recruited by William Eden, chief of the British Secret Service, 25 who assigned Wentworth the task of meeting with his old friend to obtain full details of Bancroft's visit to Paris. Wentworth informed Bancroft that the British knew he met and spent several days with Deane. Wentworth asked Bancroft to meet with Eden. Bancroft agreed and shortly thereafter a meeting was held between Bancroft, Eden, and Lords Suffolk and Weymouth to discuss the colonial rebellion. At this meeting, Bancroft was recruited as a double agent for the British. He later wrote of his decision:

"I had then resided near ten years, and expected to reside the rest of my life in England and all my views, interests and inclinations were adverse to the independency of the colonies, though I had advocated some of their claims, from a persuasion of their being founded in justice. I therefore wished, that the government of this country, might be informed, of the danger of French interference, though I could not resolve to become the informant. But Mr. Paul Wentworth, having gained some general knowledge of my journey to France, and of my intercourse with Mr. Deane, and having induced me to believe that the British Ministry were likewise informed on this subject, I at length consented to meet the then Secretaries of State, Lords Weymouth and Suffolk, and give them all the information in my power, which I did with the most disinterested views." 26

When Benjamin Franklin arrived in Paris to take over the negotiations with the French, Lord Suffolk told Bancroft to move to Paris and inject himself in Franklin's circle. In return for his service, Bancroft was offered a life pension of 200 pounds per year, increasing to 500 pounds per year. Bancroft left England on 26 March 1977. After his arrival in Paris, it was not difficult for him to find a position with Franklin, his former friend and mentor. Bancroft was made secretary to the American commission. Also arriving in Paris was Paul Wentworth, who was sent to be Bancroft's handler.

To communicate with the British, Bancroft was instructed in the use of a timed deaddrop. He was told to compose a series of cover letters about gallantry which he was to address to a "Mr. Richards," and sign each with "Edward Edward." Between the lines of his letters, he was to write in secret ink the information he acquired on the French-American partnership. When the letter was complete, he was to place it in a bottle with a piece of string around the bottle's neck. Each Tuesday evening after 9:30, Bancroft was instructed to proceed to the south terrace of the Jardin de Tuilleries where he was to place the bottle in a hole in the roots of a certain box tree. The bottle was retrieved by Thomas Jeans, secretary to British diplomat Lord Stormont, who removed the contents and usually replaced it with taskings for Bancroft. Bancroft later that same evening returned to the drop site to recover the bottle. It is reported that Bancroft provided copies of hundreds of documents to his handlers. For example, it is said that the French-American treaty was in King George's hand 48 hours after its signing, courtesy of Bancroft.

Compliments of Franklin and Deane, who sent Bancroft on frequent secret intelligence missions to London, Bancroft had the luxury of sitting down in a relaxed atmosphere to be debriefed by Lord Suffolk and others. There is some suggestion by historians that Franklin was aware of Bancroft's betrayal, citing Franklin's comment in response to a friend's warning about British spies:

"I have long observ'd one Rule which prevents any Inconvenience from such Practices. It is simply this, to be concern'd in no Affairs that I should blush to have made publick, and to do nothing but what Spies may see & welcome. When a Man's actions are just and honourable, the more they are known, the more his Reputation is increas'd and establish'd. If I was sure, therefore that my Valet de Place was a Spy, as probably he is, I think I should not discharge him for that, if in other Respects I lik'd him." 27

Whether Franklin knew and used Bancroft to pass false information to the British or never knew Brancroft's true status is subject to interpretations of the facts because Franklin did not write about it and Bancroft's personal papers were later destroyed by a family member. No matter what the truth is, the fact remains that the British had placed an excellent double agent within the American Commission in Paris who provided a wealth of information on the French-American alliance. Even with Bancroft and the other British agents inside the Commission, the British were unable to take more effective action to destroy or diminish the negotiations and support which lead to the American-French Alliance and the final defeat of the British at Yorktown.

While serving in Paris as an agent of the Committee of Secret Correspondence, Silas Deane is known to have used a heat-developing invisible ink, compounded of cobalt chloride, glycerin and water, for some of his intelligence reports back to America. Even more useful to him later was a "sympathetic stain" created for secret communications by James Jay, a physician and the brother of John Jay. Dr. Jay, who had been knighted by George III, used the "stain" for reporting military information from London to America. Later he supplied quantities of the stain to George Washington at home and to Silas Deane in Paris.

The stain required one chemical for writing the message and a second to develop it, affording greater security than the ink used by Deane earlier. Once, in a letter of John Jay, Robert Morris spoke of an innocuous letter from "Timothy Jones" (Deane) and the "concealed beauties therein," noting "the cursory examinations of a sea captain would never discover them, but transferred from his hand to the penetrating eye of a Jay, the diamonds stand confessed at once."

Washington instructed his agents in the use of the "sympathetic stain," noting in connection with "Culper Junior" that the ink "will not only render his communications less exposed to detection, but relieve the fears of such persons as may be entrusted in its conveyance . . ." Washington suggested that reports could be written in the invisible ink "on the blank leaves of a pamphlet . . .a common pocket book, or on the blank leaves at each end of registers, almanacs, or any publication or book of small value." Washington especially recommended that agents conceal their reports by using the ink in correspondence: "A much better way is to write a letter in the Tory stile with some mixture of family matters and between the lines and on the remaining part of the sheet communicate with the stain the intended intelligence."

To Joseph Reed or Colonel Cornelius Cox

Head Quarters, Morris Town,
April 7, 1777.

Dear Sir:

I am informed, there is a certain Mr. Smith, who has been lately taken up by Genl. Lincoln as a Spy and sent to Philadelphia under that Character I believe, for several reasons that he is the man who was employed by you to act for us, in that capacity, and that the apprehending him is a mistake, which may be attended with ill consequences. Lest he should be precipitately tried and punished, I must beg you will interpose in the affair without delay, and if you find him to be the person I suspect he is, take measures to have him released. I should be glad indeed, that some management might be used in the matter, in order to turn the Circumstance of his being apprehended to a good account. It would be well to make him a handsome present in money to secure his fidelity to us and contrive his releasement, in such a manner, as to give it the appearance of an accidental escape from confinement. After concerting a plan with him, by which he will be enabled to be serviceable to us, in communicating intelligence from time to time, let him make the best of his way to the Enemy. Great care must be taken, so to conduct the scheme, as to make the escape appear natural and real there must be neither too much facility, nor too much refinement, for doing too little, or over acting the part, would alike beget a suspicion of the true state of the case. I am etc.

To Governor William Livingston

Head Quarters, Valley Forge,
January 20, 1778

Sir:

I last night received a Letter from Colo. Dayton, informing me, that John and Baker Hendricks, and John Meeker had been apprehended upon a supposition of carrying on an illegal Correspondence with the Enemy, as they had been several times upon Staten Island and that they were to be tried for their lives in consequence.

In justice to these Men I am bound to take this earliest opportunity of informing you that they were employed by Colo. Dayton last Summer to procure intelligence of the movements of the Enemy while upon Staten Island, for which purpose I granted them passports, allowing them to carry small quantities of Provision, and to bring back a few Goods the better to cover their real designs. Colo Dayton acquaints me that they executed their trust faithfully this I very well remember, that what intelligence he communicated to me and which he says, came principally thro' them, was generally confirmed by the Event. Upon these Considerations I hope you will put a stop to the prosecution, unless other matters appear against them. You must be well convinced, that is indispensibly necessary to make use of these men to procure intelligence. The persons employed must bear the suspicion of being thought inimical, and it is not in their powers to asset their innocence, because that would get abroad and destroy the confidence which the Enemy puts in them. I have the honour, etc.

To Governor William Livingston

Head Quarters, Valley Forge,
March 25, 1778.

Dear Sir:

I have strong reasons to suspect a Mr. Banskon, 28 late a Captain of Marines in our service, of being in the employ of the enemy as a Spy. His family lives at Princeton. We have nothing against him that amounts to proof, and to seize him at present would answer no end but to put it out of our power to detect and punish him. It were to be wished, your Excellency, without discovering our suspicions could fall upon some method to have him well watched, and, if possible, find out something to ascertain the fact. He is lately from Philadelphia and has offered me his services in that way, as he proposes to return in a few days, taking this Camp in his way. If in the mean time any circumstances should arise within your knowledge you will be pleased to transmit it to me. I am etc.

To Colonel Stephen Moylan

Head Quarters,
April 3, 1778.

Sir:

By command of his Excellency, I am to desire, you will send a corporal and six Dragoons, with a Trumpeter to Head Quarters, without loss of time. They are wanted to escort the Commissioners on our part who are to meet on the subject of a General Cartel. You need not be told they must be picked Men and horses, must make the best possible appearance, must be very trusty and very intelligent. They should also be of the same regiment.

The General reminds you again of the necessity of keeping your Officers close to their quarters and duty and of letting no attention be wanting to put the cavalry under your command, on the best footing you can, both with respect to condition and discipline.

There is a certain Mr. Bankson late of the Continental marines, who has a family at Princeton. We suspect him to be a spy to Mr. Howe, though he offers himself as one to us. We wish to find out his true history. He left this camp the 24th of March, on pretense of making a visit to his family, and is now returned with renewed offers of service. It is doubted whether he has not, in the mean time, been at Philadelphia. The General wrote some days since to Governor Livingston, requesting he would take measures to explore Mr. Bankson's conduct and views. He directs you immediately to see the Governor and learn from him, if he has been able to make any discovery, and to take cautious methods to ascertain whether Bankson has been at home, since he left camp, how long, and when he left home, in short any thing that may throw light upon his designs. Let him hear from you as soon as possible about the he subject. Manage the business with caution and address. Yours Affectionately.

To Governor William Livingston

Head Quarters, Valley Forge,
June 1, 1778.

Dear Sir:

I am honoured with yours of the 23rd and 29th Ultimo. The person who delivered me your letter of the 17th was one of our hired Expresses. He now out upon duty, but when he returns I will inquire how he came by the letter. The Christian name of Bankson, who I begged the favor of you to keep an eye upon, is Jacob 28 , but as I am now satisfied concerning him, you need not trouble yourself further in the matter.

To Brigadier General William Swallowed

Head Quarters, Valley Forge,
June 1, 1778.

Dear Sir:

I received yours of the 30th May: A person, who I sent down to Chester to observe the movements of the Fleet, left that place on Sunday at dusk, he informs me that upwards of one hundred Sail had come down from Philadelphia and that they had not stopped near Wilmington, but proceeded towards the Capes. If this is so, it is a plain proof that they have no design to land any body of Men to molest our Stores. Captn. McLane who commands a scouting Party upon the Enemy's lines has been this Morning as near Philadelphia as Kensington, from whence he has a full view of the Harbour, he says very few ships remained and those chief armed Vessels. If therefore, upon sending an Office to Chester and another to Wilmington, you find that the Vessels have gone down and are below New Castle, you are immediately to join me, with your whole continental force. I am &ca.

P.S. Bring up your Tents with you and your lightest Baggage, as you will probably march immediately Northward.

To The Board Of General Officers

Head Quarters, Valley Forge,
June 2, 1778.

Gentlemen:

The Adjutant General has directions to send you one Shanks 29 formerly an Officer in the 10th Pennsylvania Regiment, charged with being a spy for the Enemy. There is a British deserter a serjeant of Grenadiers, who will attend as a Witness against him. His own confession is pretty ample. But to make the evidence as full as possible, I have directed Col. Morgan to send up the persons, who took the criminal, in order to ascertain the circumstances of his apprehension. To avoid the formality of a regular trial, which I think in such a case ought to be dispensed with, I am to request you will examine him and report the result and if his guilt is clear, his punishment will be very summary. 30 If the Witnesses expected from Colonel Morgan, should not arrive speedily, so that it would detain the Board too much to wait for them they may proceed to the examination, without them, but if it shod appear that their presence may materially affect the merits of the inquiry, I would wish it not to be brought to a conclusion. If it should be thought unessential, I should be glad the examination may be definitive. I am, etc.

P.S. I wish your report to be as full as possible, clear as to the criminality of the person, expressive of your opinion whether he is a proper subject for an example, and what kind of punishment may be most proper.

General Orders

Head Quarters, W. Plains,
Monday, September 14, 1778.

Parole St. Augustine. Countersigns Salem, Sandown.

After Orders
At a General Court Martial held in the Highlands January the 13th, 1778, by order of Major Genl. Putnam whereof Colo. Henry Sherburne, was President, Matthias Colbhart of Rye, in the State of New-York, was tried for holding a Correspondence with the Enemy of the United States, living as a Spy among the Continental Troops and enlisting and persuading them to desert to the British Army, found guilty of the whole Charge alledg'd against him and in particular of a breach of the 19th Article of the 13th Section of the Articles of War and therefore sentenced to be punished with Death, by hanging him by the Neck until he is dead. 30 Which Sentence was approved of by Major General Putnam. His Excellency the Commander in Chief orders him to be executed tomorrow morning nine o'Clock on Gallows Hill.

To Major General Alexander McDougall

Head Quarters, Middle Brook,
March 25, 1779.

Dear Sir:

I duly received your favour of the 20th instant. Mr. H.——- 31 has just delivered me that of the 22nd. (The Letter and inclosures referred to in it are not yet come to hand.) I have had a good deal of conversation with Mr. H-——. He appears to be a sensible man capable of rendering important service, if he is sincerely disposed to do it. From what you say, I am led to hope he is but nevertheless, if he is really in the confidence of the enemy, as he himself believes to be the case, it will be prudent to trust him with caution and to watch his conduct with a jealous eye.

I always think it necessary to be very circumspect with double spies. Their situation in a manner obliges them to trim a good deal in order to keep well with both sides and the less they have it in their power to do us mischief, the better especially if we consider that the enemy can purchase their fidelity at a higher price than we can. It is best to keep them in a way of knowing as little of our true circumstances as possible and in order that they may really deceive the enemy in their reports, to endeavor in the first place to deceive them. I would recommend, that the same rule should be observed in making use of Mr. H——, who notwithstanding the most plausible appearances may possibly be more in earnest with the enemy than with us. By doing this we run the less risk and may derive essential benefit. He is gone on to Philadelphia.

Which so far as it affected the troops under your command you will be pleased to assist me in executing as speedily as possible. I am, etc.

To Major General Alexander McDougall

Head Quarters, Middle Brook,
March 28, 1779.

Dear Sir:

I yesterday Evening was favd. with yours of the 21st instant with the several inclosures to which it refers.

——- 32 is gone to Philada. and will call upon me in his way back. In my last I took the liberty to drop you a hint upon the subject of the danger of our putting too much confidence in persons undertaking the office of double Spies. The person alluded to in the present instance appears very sensible, and we should, on that account, be more than commonly guarded until he has given full proofs of his attachment. The letter directed to Genl. Haldimand 33 was evidently intended to fall into our Hands. The manner of contriving that, and some other circumstances, makes me suspicious that he is as much in the interest of the enemy as in ours. I am etc.

Joseph Hyson 3 4
Joseph Hyson was a Marylander, living in London where he was an unemployed seaman. While carousing among the bars, he met William Carmichael, a fellow Marylander and personal secretary to Silas Deane in Paris, who was visiting England and also liked to frequent the shadier sites of London. The two men became very close friends. When Carmichael was sent to England to recruit seamen to command privateers and munitions ships clandestinely fitted in France, he approached Hyson, who readily agreed because he was broke and wanted, he said, to see America again.

After Hyson was recruited by Carmichael, he was approached by Reverend John Vardill, a British agent of William Eden, an under-secretary of state, who directed British intelligence during the early years of the American Revolution. The meeting took place on 12 February 1777 and Hyson agreed to work for British intelligence. A plan, briefed to the British Admiralty which gave its approval, was devised whereby Hyson would slip out of England for France. After Hyson's arrival in France, he was to collect coastal and other maritime information on the country while waiting to take possession of one of the ships. Once he commanded a ship, he was to use elaborate signals, worked out with the British navy to make it appear that the ship was captured rather than Hyson having sailed it into British hands.

Hyson safely arrived in France and, while his ship was being fitted, he spent a great deal of time with Carmichael and the American Commissioners, Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane. Hyson also began to collect data on French ports and shipping which he passed to Lt. Col. Edward Smith, a British intelligence officer. Carmichael detected Hyson's spy activities for Smith but did not reveal them to any of the American Commissioners. In fact, Carmichael offered to help Hyson obtain American dispatches, an offer Smith believed could help the British recruit Carmichael. 35 The British did try to recruit Carmichael but he rejected there overtures.

Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane decided to send the Commissioners' important dispatches to the Continental Congress earlier than expected and selected a Captain Folger to take them aboard his ship. To get the dispatches to Captain Folger, Captain Hyson was selected as the courier. Hyson traveled to Havre, France where he turned over the dispatch pouch to Folger. Folger, after his arrival in America, gave the pouch to the Committee of Correspondence of the Continental Congress. When the Committee opened the pouch, they discovered a wad of blank paper. While the substituted pouch was on its way to America, Hyson delivered the real pouch to Lt. Col. Smith in London, who immediately turned it over to William Eden. Eden, in turn, displayed the entire pouch contents to King George III, who was often a harsh critic of the spies, alluding to his mistrust of them.

Hyson was paid for his services. Lord North gave him 200 pounds and a promise of 200 pounds a year. "He was an honest rascal, and no fool though apparently stupid." 36 An apt remark considering that Hyson returned to France to renew his contact with the American Commissioners. He could not understand why the Commissioners rejected any contact with him. The only one who came to visit him was Carmichael. He failed to realized that Carmichael was directed to make contact with him in order to get Lt. Col. Smith to come to Paris to meet with the Commissioners.

The Commissioners wanted to use Smith as a broker to determine if the British government was agreeable to negotiating a peace. When word was received on 30 November 1777 that General John Burgoyne surrendered, this plan was shelved. Hyson's value to the Commissioners was ended although he was offered the job of taking some dispatches to America. He refused. The French told him to leave their country or be arrested as a spy.

Hyson requested funds from Smith, who sent the request to Eden. Eden responded that he would support giving Hyson 40 pounds if Hyson would set sail and try to overtake either Silas Deane or Carmichael who had departed France in separate ships carrying dispatches. Hyson left for England, where he signed on a man-of-war, the Centaur, in which he was a key player in betraying an American munitions ship to the British. This is the last anyone heard of Hyson.

Lydia Darragh
Though it has been disputed as to accuracy and, indeed, truth, the story of Lydia Darragh deserves mention. Darragh, listening through a paper-thin wall of her home where British officers met, learned of British plans for the 4 December march on Philadelphia. Smuggling her notes in a "dirty, old needlebook" she was able to report the British would march out on 4 December and surprise General Washington at Whitemarsh with their superior forces against Washington's unprepared Continentals.

She reported that there would be 5,000 men under General William Howe, 13 pieces of cannon, baggage wagons and 11 boats on wheels, or pontoon equipment. The British did pull out of Philadelphia with more than 5,000 men on the night of 4 December, rolled through the city going in the wrong direction toward the Schuylkill River. Washington's intelligence and estimates were correct. He had strengthened the front, not the rear, and the British surprise failed.

After a day of confrontation, Howe withdrew to Philadelphia "like a parcel of damned fools." It was to his report of the Whitemarsh fiasco that General Charles Cornwallis first appended his view that the conquest of America was impossible. On other occasions, Lydia concealed reports in shorthand only her older brother, Lt. Charles Darragh could read, and covered them as buttons which her 14 year-old son wore on his clothing when traveling on regular visits to her brother. Charles would then decode the shorthand and deliver the report to Washington.

James Armistead
James Armistead was a slave who, with his master's permission, joined Marquis de Lafayette's service when the young French General arrived in Williamsburg in March 1781. Armistead had repeated success in penetrating the British lines and bringing out intelligence on Cornwallis' forces. Lafayette later commended the agent's "essential services," noting "His intelligences from the enemy camp were industriously collected and more faithfully reported."

As a courier between Lafayette and American agents in the Norfolk area, Armistead won this accolade from Lafayette: "He properly acquitted some important communications I gave him." But, the most valued role of this agent involved deception. Posing as a refugee, he crossed Cornwallis's lines, where he was recruited as a British spy and dispatched back against Lafayette.

Lafayette prepared a false order from himself to General Daniel Morgan, in which Morgan was instructed to move non-existent troop replacements into certain positions. With the properly crumpled and abused letter in hand, Armistead returned to the British, reporting that he had found no changes in the American position, but displaying the torn paper that he claimed to have found along the roadside, but could not read.

Cornwallis accepted the bait and did not learn he had been tricked until Lafayette completed the military operation. Cornwallis, during a courtesy visit to Lafayette after the British defeat at Yorktown, recognized Armistead on Lafayette's staff, and realized for the first time that his trusted agent, had, in actuality, been an American agent.

Following the war, the Virginia Assembly voted James Armistead his freedom and in later years approved both a bonus and a lifetime pension for his intelligence work, conducted "at the peril of his life." James reciprocated the honor, adopting the new surname, Lafayette.

John Honeyman
John Honeyman was denounced by George Washington as a traitor as part of a plan to get the American spy a warm welcome when he fled to the British lines. The "traitor" label worked so well that once Honeyman, who used the cover of butcher and horse trader, had his house raided by patriots. In order to expedite Honeyman's return, Washington issued order that Honeyman, upon returning to American lines, was to be "captured alive" and taken to Washington directly so that Washington could interrogate the "dangerous rascal" personally.

Honeyman, would of course, subsequently manage to escape back to British lines and provide deception information, as he did in telling the Hessians that Washington was not prepared to attack Trenton on Christmas.

Daniel Bissell
On 8 June 1783, Sargeant Daniel Bissell of the 2nd Connecticut Regiment was awarded the Honorary Badge of Military Merit, one of three men in the American Revolution to be cited with the award now known as the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Bissell was bestowed the award for his work as a military spy.

In August 1781, Lt. Col. Robert Harrison, Washington's aide-de-camp, dispatched Bissell into New York to gather intelligence. Finding he could not exfiltrate the city, he masqueraded as a Loyalist and joined Benedict Arnold's provincial regiment. For over a year, Bissell gathered intelligence, committing it to memory.

In September 1782, he was able to escape through British lines and report to Washington. Not only was Bissell able to report first-hand on British fortifications, and intelligence gathered from others, he was able to present a twelve-month analysis of the British method of operation, which Washington commended him on.

Bissell's ideological motivation became clear when he refused both an honorable discharge and a pension for his work as an intelligence agent for Washington he felt the nation could ill-afford the loss of his services, and he believed the nation should not be tasked with the pension payments.

David Gray
David Gray, a captain in the 1st Massachusetts, was highly effective in obtaining intelligence about the Loyalists and their plotting, which earned him the attention of Washington, who employed him as a spy. Gray made a number of trips to Conneticut and Long Island, New York and finally managed an introduction to Col. Beverly Robinson at British intelligence headquarters. He was recruited by Robinson as a courier to carry letters to Tories in New York, Conneticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire, which he did after first delivering them to Washington for examination. After about a year with the British, he was sent to Canada with dispatches from Sir Henry Clinton.

In 1798 a political scheme by three emissaries from French Foreign Minister, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, outraged the American public, when it surfaced in the United States. The three emissaries, known by the initials, X, Y, and Z, attempted to bribe three American commissioners, who were seeking a treaty of commerce and amity with France. The uproar cause by the attempted bribe led to a complete break in relations with France and an undeclared naval war for two years.

The French, upset by the Jay Treaty of 1794 between the United States and Great Britain, giving Great Britain favored-nation status, felt the Americans were becoming too pro-British. The French were at war with Great Britain and began to seize American ships on the high seas looking for contraband believed headed for British ports. Suffering staggering financial losses, American ship owners demanded reprisals against the French.

In December 1796, the American minister to France, Charles C. Pinckney, tried unsuccessfully to present his credentials to the French Directory. This diplomatic slap in the face resulted in a heated outcry in America against the French. John Adams, the newly elected President, desired better relations with France and to avoid war. On 31 May 1797 he named a three-member commission, Pinckney, John Marshall and Elbridge Gerry, to negotiate with the French government. However, when they arrived in Paris in October 1797 to begin negotiations on a new commercial and friendship treaty, the French Directory refused to meet them. Instead, Talleyrand sent three emissaries to meet with them.

The emissaries advised the American commissioners that a "gift" of $25,000 to the Foreign Minister and a loan of $10 million to France was a prerequisite to any negotiations. Two other conditions demanded by the emissaries was an apology by the President for his past critical remarks about France and a reaffirmation by the United States of the old Franco-American Alliance of 1778. Although diplomatic bribes were customary, Pinckney, furious from twiddling his thumbs waiting for an appointment with Talleyrand, said, "Not a sixpence." His diplomatic note to President Adam was more articulate, "Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute."

The American commissioners decided to appeal to Talleyrand directly in a diplomatic note. Talleyrand did not respond for two months and when he did, his reply was terse. He blamed the Americans for the problems, said the President should have sent only Republicans (Pinckney and Marshall were Federalists) to negotiate and stated he would deal only with Gerry. Talleyrand also said that if Gerry left France, war between the two countries was likely. Although the commissioners made no concessions to the French, Pinckney and Marshall returned to the United States, leaving Gerry in France. Gerry's presence in France did not sit well with the Americans and President Adams recalled him.

President Adams informed Congress about the failed mission and provided Congress with the XYZ correspondence. The Federalists were overjoyed by the news. Alexander Hamilton suggested raising an army of 10,000 men. George Washington said he would come out of retirement to lead the new army, but in title only. Washington wanted Hamilton as his second-in-command. President Adams, fearful of promoting Hamilton over several Revolutionary War officers, who then might lead a coup against him, decided to authorize the building of 40 frigates and lesser warships. An undeclared naval war ensued for two years (1798-1800) in which American naval forces captured 84 armed French ship while only losing one. The Convention of 1800 ended the fighting. The diplomatic dispute ended six months later when Napoleon Bonaparte officially received the American commissioners to France.

19. This article is copyrighted by Eric Evans Rafalko and used with his permission.

20. Secret New England Spies of the American Revolution, ed. by Edmund R. Thompson (The David Atlee Phillips New England Chapter, Association of Former Intelligence Officers, Kennebunk, Maine, 1991, p. 73).

21. Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, ed. by Francis Wharton, U.S. Department of State, 6 vols., Washington, Government Printing Office, 1889, pp. 78-80.

22. Silas Deane to the Secret Committee of Congress, August 18, 1776, in The Deane Papers, ed. Charles Isham, 5 vols, New York Historical Society Collections, Vols. XIX-XXIII, New York, 1886-1891, XIX, p. 206.

23. Bemis, Samuel F., The Diplomacy of the American Revolution, New York, D. Appleton Co., 1935, pp. 44-45.

24. Dr. Edward Bancroft to the Most Honorable Marquis of Carmarthen, September 17, 1784, Samuel F. Bemis, British Secret Service and the French-American Alliance, American Historical Review, XXIX, No. 3 (April, 1924), p. 493.

25. There was no organization within the government known as the British Secret Service. Intelligence collection was conducted by major figures within the Foreign Ministry or military for their own purposes. In this respect, Eden was probably in charge of a small group of intelligence collectors for Lord Suffolk.

26. Dr. Edward Bancroft to the Most Honorable Marquis of Carmarthen, September 17, 1784, op. cit., p. 493.

27. Secret New England Spies of the American Revolution, ed. Edmund R. Thompson, op. cit., p. 80.

28. Jacob Bankson was one of Washington's spies.

29. Thomas Shanks, formerly an ensign of the Tenth Pennsylvania Regiment. He had been cashiered Oct. 12, 1777, for stealing shoes.

30. The board voted 10 to 4 that he was a spy and 8 to 6 that he ought to suffer death.

31. Elijah Hunter, assistant commissary of forage, at Bedford, N.Y.

32. Elijah Hunter. In the draft he is designated "H------."

33. Lieut. Gen. Frederick Haldimand, Governor of Canada.

34. This article was written by Frank J. Rafalko, Chief, Community Training Branch, National Counterintelligence Center.

35. Smith obtained this information which he communicated to Eden in "Information obtained by Lt. Col. Smith during the six weeks of his intercourse with Capt. Hyson, in February and March 1777," Mar 27-28, 1777, Stephens's Facsimiles of Manuscripts in European Archives relating to America, 1773-1783, no. 670.

36. William Eden to George III, Oct 20, 1777, Stevens, op. cit., no. 275.


Book/Printed Material Image 1 of Whereas, many persons, at and below the White-Plains, in the county of West-Chester, by reason of the ravages of the enemy are greatly distressed for want of provision to support their families

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Day 3, Dec. 15, 1777 — The Continental Army settles down at Rebel Hill and Gulph Mills

On December 15, 1777, the Continental Army has been at Gulph Mills and Rebel Hill for two days, so they are able to settle down and recoup a bit of their strength. As Dr. Albigence Waldo, Surgeon General to the Army writes of his condition, improved as of the past two days, “Quiet. Eat Pessimmens, found myself better for their Lenient Opperation. Went to a house, poor and small, but good food within – eat too much from being so long Abstemious, thro’ want of palatables. Mankind are never truly thankfull for the Benefits of life, until they have experienc’d the want of them. The Man who has seen misery knows best how to enjoy good. He who is always at ease and has enough of the Blessings of common life is an Impotent Judge of the feelings of the unfortunate….”

Even General Washington seems to have settled down a bit to assess the situation that his army is in and to prepare for the upcoming winter. A chief concern was where was the army going to spend the winter. At this time in history, armies did not fight during the winter. They went to their winter headquarters and resumed fighting in the spring. The British had taken over Philadelphia and its comforts as the colonies’ largest city, and they were settling into a comfortable winter there. Many historians believe that General Washington wanted to establish winter quarters at Gulph Mills, but that he deferred to a suggestion of General Anthony Wayne, from Paoli, the only general from the area, to make the quarters further down Gulph Road in Valley Forge. As South Carolinian Lt. Col. John Laurens, an aide-de-camp to George Washington, wrote,”The precise position is not yet fixed upon, in which our huts are to be constructed it will probably be determined today it must be in such a situation as to admit of a bridge of communication over the Schuylkill for the protection of the country we have just left.”

General Washington wrote three letters on December 15, 1777. A chief concern that he raised was finding or foraging or just out-and-out taking food to feed his army. Both the British and the Continental Army foraged all over the Delaware Valley area for food. Washington’s entrance to Gulph Mills was delayed and detoured because they came upon a group of some 4,000 British soldiers led by Lord Cornwallis foraging for food in Gulph Mills. The British successfully stole some 2,000 sheep and cattle from Gulph Mills’ farmers. But, they must have met with resistance because Lord Cornwallis called the area “Rebel Hill” because it was full of rebels, or what we call “patriots.”

While many of those living on Rebel Hill supported the Continental Army, the army’s needs made demand on their resources. Gulph Mills got its name because the area is a gulph between the hills, and because there were many actual mills along the Gulph Creek. Many patriots made their livings at these various mills where such things as flour, linens, toys, and metal tools and objects were made. For example, Jonathan Sturgis, who owned the home that served as a picket post during the Valley Forge encampment (and later became the Picket Post Restaurant, now Savona Restaurant), owned the mill directly across from his house on the Gulph Creek.

On December 10, the Continental Congress ordered Washington to forage in all of the areas surrounding his army to get food and resources from the local homes and businesses, including the mills. His letters show that he and his army had already done that and that some locals were supportive, but some were not. In any event, he ordered his army to go out and get the resources to support themselves.

(A letter from General Washington to his officers reporting on Congress’ resolution of December 10, 1777)

To THE OFFICERS ORDERED TO REMOVE
PROVISIONS FROM THE COUNTRY
NEAR THE ENEMY [Headquarters, December 15?, 1777.]
In Congress, December 10, 1777.

Resolved. That General Washington should for the future, endeavour as much as possible to subsist his Army from such parts of the Country as are in its vicinity and especially from such quarters, as he shall deem most likely to be subjected to the power or depredations of the Enemy, and that he issue orders for such purpose to the Commissaries and Quarter Masters belonging to the Army.

That General Washington be directed to order every kind of Stock and provisions in the Country above mentioned, which may be beneficial to the Army, or serviceable to the Enemy, to be taken from all persons without distinction, leaving such quantities only as he shall judge necessary for the maintenance of their families: The Stock and provisions so taken to be removed to places of security, under the care of proper persons to be appointed.

Extract from the proceedings of Congress.

Sir: You will perceive by the foregoing Extracts, that it is the direction of Congress, that the Army should be subsisted, as far as possible, on provisions to be drawn from such parts of the Country, as are within its vicinity and most exposed to the ravages and incursions of the Enemy. Also, that all stock and provisions which may be liable to fall into the Enemy’s hands and which would be serviceable to them, except such a part as shall be absolutely necessary for the maintenance and support of the families to which they may belong, should be removed to places of security under the care of proper persons.

You are therefore, forthwith and upon all future occasions, to comply with their views, as far as it may be in your power, and in a particular manner, you are to exert yourself to draw from the Counties of Bucks, Philadelphia and Chester every Species of provision you possibly can. You will also extend your care to such parts of Jersey, as are near the City of Philadelphia, and in like manner to the Counties in the Delaware State, and to obtain from these several places all the Supplies you can. Besides drawing provisions, you are to remove from such parts of all the before mentioned Counties as may be subject to the depredations of the Enemy, the Stock and Grain of every kind which would be Serviceable to them, to places of security under the restriction and exception above mentioned keeping a just and exact account of the number, quantity, quality and value, and of the persons to whom they belonged, in order that the owners may be paid a reasonable and equitable compensation for the same. These duties are important and interesting, and it is expected will have your pointed attention, as a regular discharge of them will not only contribute to the more easy support of our own Troops, aid our supplies from the more interior parts of the Country, but also will distress the Enemy, and prevent that injurious and pernicious intercourse too prevalent between them and a number of disaffected Inhabitants. I am &ca.

To the President of Congress

December 15. (attached to General Washington’s letter dated December 14)

Your Favor of the 11th Current, 24 with its Inclosure came to hand Yesterday. Congress seem to have taken for granted a Fact, that is really not so. All the Forage for the Army has been constantly drawn from Bucks and Philadelphia Counties and those parts most contiguous to the City, insomuch that it was nearly exhausted and intirely so in the Country below our Camp. From these too, were obtained all the Supplies of flour that circumstances would admit of. The Millers, in most instances, were unwilling to grind, either from their disaffection or from motives of fear. This made the supplies less than they otherwise might have been, and the Quantity which was drawn from thence, was little besides what the Guards, placed at the Mills, compelled them to manufacture. As to Stock, I do not know that much was had from thence, nor do I know that any considerable supply could have been had. I confess, I have felt myself greatly embarrassed with respect to a vigorous exercise of Military power. An Ill placed humanity perhaps and a reluctance to give distress may have restrained me too far. But these were not all. I have been well aware of the prevalent jealousy of military power, and that this has been considered as an

[Note:This letter was one of December 12, a copy of which is entered in the “President’s Letter Book” in the Papers of the Continental Congress . The resolve alluded to is that (December 10) directing the removal of all stock and provisions beyond the reach of the enemy. ]

Evil much to be apprehended even by the best and most sensible among us. Under this Idea, I have been cautious and wished to avoid as much as possible any Act that might improve it. However Congress may be assured, that no exertions of mine as far as circumstances will admit shall be wanting to provide our own Troops with Supplies on the one hand, and to prevent the Enemy from them on the other. At the same time they must be apprized, that many Obstacles have arisen to render the former more precarious and difficult than they usually were from a change in the Commissary’s department at a very critical and interesting period. I should be happy, if the Civil Authority in the Several States thro’ the recommendations of Congress, or their own mere will, seeing the necessity of supporting the Army, would always adopt the most spirited measures, suited to the end. The people at large are governed much by Custom. To Acts of Legislation or Civil Authority they have been ever taught to yield a willing obedience without reasoning about their propriety. On those of Military power, whether immediate or derived originally from another Source, they have ever looked with a jealous and suspicious Eye.

To GOVERNOR JONATHAN TRUMBULL Head Quarters, Gulf Mill, December 15, 1777.

Sir: I have the honor of yours of the 2d Instt. I am much obliged for the attention you have paid to my requests thro’ Genl. Putnam, and I shall ever acknowledge the readiness with which you have Always afforded any assistance from your State, when demanded immediately by myself. I was never consulted in the least upon the Rhode Island expedition, and I cannot therefore pretend to say who were or who were not to blame but it undoubtedly cost the Public, an enormous sum to little or no purpose.

I observe by the Copy of your letter to Congress, that your State had fallen upon means to supply your troops with Cloathing, I must earnestly beg that it may be sent on to Camp as fast as it is collected. To cover the Country more effectually we shall be obliged to lay in a Manner in the Field the whole Winter, and except the Men are warmly clad they must suffer much.

Among the troops of your State there are 363 drafts whose time of Service will expire with this Month. This deduction, with the former deficiency of the Regiments, will reduce them exceedingly low and as I have represented this Matter to Congress very fully I hope they have before this time urged to the States the necessity which there is of filling their Regiments this Winter. But lest they should not have done it, I beg leave to urge the matter to your immediate consideration. Recruits for the War ought by all means, to be obtained if possible but if that cannot be done, drafts for one year at least should be called out without delay and I hope that as many as are now upon the point of going home, will be immediately reinstated. We must expect to loose a considerable number of Men by sickness and otherways, in the course of the Winter and if we cannot take the field in the Spring with a superior or at least an equal force with the Enemy, we shall have laboured thro’ the preceeding Campaigns to little purpose.


Becoming Valley Forge

On December 15, 1777, the Continental Army has been at Gulph Mills and Rebel Hill for two days, so they are able to settle down and recoup a bit of their strength. As Dr. Albigence Waldo, Surgeon General to the Army writes of his condition, improved as of the past two days, “Quiet. Eat Pessimmens, found myself better for their Lenient Opperation. Went to a house, poor and small, but good food within – eat too much from being so long Abstemious, thro’ want of palatables. Mankind are never truly thankfull for the Benefits of life, until they have experienc’d the want of them. The Man who has seen misery knows best how to enjoy good. He who is always at ease and has enough of the Blessings of common life is an Impotent Judge of the feelings of the unfortunate….”

Even General Washington seems to have settled down a bit to assess the situation that his army is in and to prepare for the upcoming winter. A chief concern was where was the army going to spend the winter. At this time in history, armies did not fight during the winter. They went to their winter headquarters and resumed fighting in the spring. The British had taken over Philadelphia and its comforts as the colonies’ largest city, and they were settling into a comfortable winter there. Many historians believe that General Washington wanted to establish winter quarters at Gulph Mills, but that he deferred to a suggestion of General Anthony Wayne, from Paoli, the only general from the area, to make the quarters further down Gulph Road in Valley Forge. As South Carolinian Lt. Col. John Laurens, an aide-de-camp to George Washington, wrote,”The precise position is not yet fixed upon, in which our huts are to be constructed it will probably be determined today it must be in such a situation as to admit of a bridge of communication over the Schuylkill for the protection of the country we have just left.”

General Washington wrote three letters on December 15, 1777. A chief concern that he raised was finding or foraging or just out-and-out taking food to feed his army. Both the British and the Continental Army foraged all over the Delaware Valley area for food. Washington’s entrance to Gulph Mills was delayed and detoured because they came upon a group of some 4,000 British soldiers led by Lord Cornwallis foraging for food in Gulph Mills. The British successfully stole some 2,000 sheep and cattle from Gulph Mills’ farmers. But, they must have met with resistance because Lord Cornwallis called the area “Rebel Hill” because it was full of rebels, or what we call “patriots.”

While many of those living on Rebel Hill supported the Continental Army, the army’s needs made demand on their resources. Gulph Mills got its name because the area is a gulph between the hills, and because there were many actual mills along the Gulph Creek. Many patriots made their livings at these various mills where such things as flour, linens, toys, and metal tools and objects were made. For example, Jonathan Sturgis, who owned the home that served as a picket post during the Valley Forge encampment (and later became the Picket Post Restaurant, now Savona Restaurant), owned the mill directly across from his house on the Gulph Creek.

On December 10, the Continental Congress ordered Washington to forage in all of the areas surrounding his army to get food and resources from the local homes and businesses, including the mills. His letters show that he and his army had already done that and that some locals were supportive, but some were not. In any event, he ordered his army to go out and get the resources to support themselves.

(A letter from General Washington to his officers reporting on Congress’ resolution of December 10, 1777)

To THE OFFICERS ORDERED TO REMOVE
PROVISIONS FROM THE COUNTRY
NEAR THE ENEMY [Headquarters, December 15?, 1777.]
In Congress, December 10, 1777.

Resolved. That General Washington should for the future, endeavour as much as possible to subsist his Army from such parts of the Country as are in its vicinity and especially from such quarters, as he shall deem most likely to be subjected to the power or depredations of the Enemy, and that he issue orders for such purpose to the Commissaries and Quarter Masters belonging to the Army.

That General Washington be directed to order every kind of Stock and provisions in the Country above mentioned, which may be beneficial to the Army, or serviceable to the Enemy, to be taken from all persons without distinction, leaving such quantities only as he shall judge necessary for the maintenance of their families: The Stock and provisions so taken to be removed to places of security, under the care of proper persons to be appointed.

Extract from the proceedings of Congress.

Sir: You will perceive by the foregoing Extracts, that it is the direction of Congress, that the Army should be subsisted, as far as possible, on provisions to be drawn from such parts of the Country, as are within its vicinity and most exposed to the ravages and incursions of the Enemy. Also, that all stock and provisions which may be liable to fall into the Enemy’s hands and which would be serviceable to them, except such a part as shall be absolutely necessary for the maintenance and support of the families to which they may belong, should be removed to places of security under the care of proper persons.

You are therefore, forthwith and upon all future occasions, to comply with their views, as far as it may be in your power, and in a particular manner, you are to exert yourself to draw from the Counties of Bucks, Philadelphia and Chester every Species of provision you possibly can. You will also extend your care to such parts of Jersey, as are near the City of Philadelphia, and in like manner to the Counties in the Delaware State, and to obtain from these several places all the Supplies you can. Besides drawing provisions, you are to remove from such parts of all the before mentioned Counties as may be subject to the depredations of the Enemy, the Stock and Grain of every kind which would be Serviceable to them, to places of security under the restriction and exception above mentioned keeping a just and exact account of the number, quantity, quality and value, and of the persons to whom they belonged, in order that the owners may be paid a reasonable and equitable compensation for the same. These duties are important and interesting, and it is expected will have your pointed attention, as a regular discharge of them will not only contribute to the more easy support of our own Troops, aid our supplies from the more interior parts of the Country, but also will distress the Enemy, and prevent that injurious and pernicious intercourse too prevalent between them and a number of disaffected Inhabitants. I am &ca.

To the President of Congress

December 15. (attached to General Washington’s letter dated December 14)

Your Favor of the 11th Current, 24 with its Inclosure came to hand Yesterday. Congress seem to have taken for granted a Fact, that is really not so. All the Forage for the Army has been constantly drawn from Bucks and Philadelphia Counties and those parts most contiguous to the City, insomuch that it was nearly exhausted and intirely so in the Country below our Camp. From these too, were obtained all the Supplies of flour that circumstances would admit of. The Millers, in most instances, were unwilling to grind, either from their disaffection or from motives of fear. This made the supplies less than they otherwise might have been, and the Quantity which was drawn from thence, was little besides what the Guards, placed at the Mills, compelled them to manufacture. As to Stock, I do not know that much was had from thence, nor do I know that any considerable supply could have been had. I confess, I have felt myself greatly embarrassed with respect to a vigorous exercise of Military power. An Ill placed humanity perhaps and a reluctance to give distress may have restrained me too far. But these were not all. I have been well aware of the prevalent jealousy of military power, and that this has been considered as an

[Note:This letter was one of December 12, a copy of which is entered in the “President’s Letter Book” in the Papers of the Continental Congress . The resolve alluded to is that (December 10) directing the removal of all stock and provisions beyond the reach of the enemy. ]

Evil much to be apprehended even by the best and most sensible among us. Under this Idea, I have been cautious and wished to avoid as much as possible any Act that might improve it. However Congress may be assured, that no exertions of mine as far as circumstances will admit shall be wanting to provide our own Troops with Supplies on the one hand, and to prevent the Enemy from them on the other. At the same time they must be apprized, that many Obstacles have arisen to render the former more precarious and difficult than they usually were from a change in the Commissary’s department at a very critical and interesting period. I should be happy, if the Civil Authority in the Several States thro’ the recommendations of Congress, or their own mere will, seeing the necessity of supporting the Army, would always adopt the most spirited measures, suited to the end. The people at large are governed much by Custom. To Acts of Legislation or Civil Authority they have been ever taught to yield a willing obedience without reasoning about their propriety. On those of Military power, whether immediate or derived originally from another Source, they have ever looked with a jealous and suspicious Eye.

To GOVERNOR JONATHAN TRUMBULL Head Quarters, Gulf Mill, December 15, 1777.

Sir: I have the honor of yours of the 2d Instt. I am much obliged for the attention you have paid to my requests thro’ Genl. Putnam, and I shall ever acknowledge the readiness with which you have Always afforded any assistance from your State, when demanded immediately by myself. I was never consulted in the least upon the Rhode Island expedition, and I cannot therefore pretend to say who were or who were not to blame but it undoubtedly cost the Public, an enormous sum to little or no purpose.

I observe by the Copy of your letter to Congress, that your State had fallen upon means to supply your troops with Cloathing, I must earnestly beg that it may be sent on to Camp as fast as it is collected. To cover the Country more effectually we shall be obliged to lay in a Manner in the Field the whole Winter, and except the Men are warmly clad they must suffer much.

Among the troops of your State there are 363 drafts whose time of Service will expire with this Month. This deduction, with the former deficiency of the Regiments, will reduce them exceedingly low and as I have represented this Matter to Congress very fully I hope they have before this time urged to the States the necessity which there is of filling their Regiments this Winter. But lest they should not have done it, I beg leave to urge the matter to your immediate consideration. Recruits for the War ought by all means, to be obtained if possible but if that cannot be done, drafts for one year at least should be called out without delay and I hope that as many as are now upon the point of going home, will be immediately reinstated. We must expect to loose a considerable number of Men by sickness and otherways, in the course of the Winter and if we cannot take the field in the Spring with a superior or at least an equal force with the Enemy, we shall have laboured thro’ the preceeding Campaigns to little purpose.


General George Washington orders the release of British Captain John Schaack, who was a surrogate for Captain Charles Asgill and under threat of a retaliatory execution

Washington also congratulates Elias Dayton, one of Americas first spies, on his promotion to general

This letter has been in a private collection for at least 75 years and perhaps much longer

Charles Asgill was born in London in 1762, the only son of the Lord Mayor of London, Sir.

George Washington


GunShowOnTheNet

"The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms shall NOT be infringed." _________________________________________________________________________ "The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them." --Thomas Jefferson _________________________________________________________________________ Shredding the lies one slice at a time.


Life, Liberty and Property

The three terms employed in the title are said to be the main ones intended to be secured by American governments. And this has been the case since the very beginnings of the idea of free American governments. The following will prove, beyond all shadow of a doubt. That the Federal government, as well as a great many of the states. Are failing miserably in fulfilling the purposes for which they were instituted. Not only are most of our governments failing to secure these great ends. The majority, are deliberately perverting, subverting and undermining them. They are defeating the very purposes for which We The People established them to begin with!

First, let's establish the FACT that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is part and parcel of Life, Liberty and Property. We will turn to an excerpt from one of the first main works of freedom and liberty known in America:

"Sect. 135. Though the legislative, whether placed in one or more, whether it be always in being, or only by intervals, though it be the supreme power in every common-wealth yet, First, It is not, nor can possibly be absolutely arbitrary over the lives and fortunes of the people: for it being but the joint power of every member of the society given up to that person, or assembly, which is legislator it can be no more than those persons had in a state of nature before they entered into society, and gave up to the community: for no body can transfer to another more power than he has in himself and no body has an absolute arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or take away the life or property of another. A man, as has been proved, cannot subject himself to the arbitrary power of another and having in the state of nature no arbitrary power over the life, liberty, or possession of another, but only so much as the law of nature gave him for the preservation of himself, and the rest of mankind this is all he cloth, or can give up to the common-wealth, and by it to the legislative power, so that the legislative can have no more than this. Their power, in the utmost bounds of it, is limited to the public good of the society. It is a power, that hath no other end but preservation, and therefore can never have a right to destroy, enslave, or designedly to impoverish the subjects.* The obligations of the law of nature cease not in society, but only in many cases are drawn closer, and have by human laws known penalties annexed to them, to inforce their observation. Thus the law of nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators as well as others. The rules that they make for other men's actions, must, as well as their own and other men's actions, be conformable to the law of nature, i.e. to the will of God, of which that is a declaration, and the fundamental law of nature being the preservation of mankind, no human sanction can be good, or valid against it."-- John Locke, "The Second Treatise of Government" - Chapter 11 - Of the Extent of the Legislative Power. (1690).

“Natural Rights of the Colonists as Men.”

“Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life Secondly, to liberty Thirdly, to property together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.”

- Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin, Nov. 20, 1772 'The Rights of the Colonists', (actual title 'The Report of the Committee of Correspondence to the Boston Town Meeting').

Next, let us solidify the FACT that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is indeed a "Liberty"

". "7th. The 9th article also provides that the requisition for the land forces, to be furnished by the several states, shall be proportioned to the number of white inhabitants in each In the act of independence we find the following declaration: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident --that all men are created equal that they are endued by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' Of this doctrine it is not a very remote consequence, that all the inhabitants of every society, be the color of their complexion what it may, are bound to promote the interest thereof, according to their respective abilities. They ought, therefore, to be brought into the account, on this occasion. But admitting necessity or expediency to justify the refusal of liberty, in certain circumstances, to persons of a particular color, we think it unequal to reckon upon such in this case. Should it be improper, for special local reasons, to admit them in arms for the defence of the nation, yet we conceive the proportion of forces to be imbodied ought to be fixed according to the whole number of inhabitants in the state, from whatever class they may be raised."

- ABSTRACT OF PROCEEDINGS IN CONGRESS ON CERTAIN PROPOSED ALTERATIONS, AMENDMENTS, OR ADDITIONS, PROPOSED BY CERTAIN STATES TO THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION. June 25, 1778. Congress took into consideration the representation from NEW JERSEY, on the Articles of Confederation). [The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution.] [Elliot's Debates, Volume 1]

"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and this without any qualification as to their condition or degree, as is the case in the British government. "

". This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty. The right of self-defense is the first law of nature in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Whenever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction."

". In America we may reasonably hope that the people will never cease to regard the right of keeping and bearing arms as the surest pledge of their liberty. "

- St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries, (1803).

"The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic Usurpation of Power by rulers. The Right of the Citizens to Keep and Bear Arms has JUSTLY been considered, as the PALLADIUM of the LIBERTIES of The Republic since it offers a strong moral check AGAINST the Usurpation and Arbitrary Power of rulers and will generally. ENABLE the PEOPLE to RESIST and TRIUMPH OVER THEM."

- Joseph Story, Supreme Court Justice, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, p. 3:746-7, 1833. (Joseph Story served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1805 to 1808 and from 1810 to 1812 for two terms as speaker and was a representative in Congress from December 1808 to March 1809. In November 1811, at the age of thirty-two, he became, by President Madison's appointment, the youngest appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States).

Now, let us examine even further examples of the importance of Life, Liberty and Property in American history

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1
Samuel Adams' Draft Letter to Thomas Gage

“. The Act of the British Parliament for shutting up the Harbour of Boston is universally deemd to be unjust and cruel and the World now sees with Astonishment & Indignation the Distress which the In habitants of that loyal though devoted Town are suffering under the most rigid Execution of it. There are two other Acts passed in the present Session of Parliament, the one for regulating the Government of the Province of Massachusetts Bay and the other entitled an Act for the more impartial Administration of Justice in the same Province the former of these Acts was made with the professed Purpose of materially altering the Charter of that Province granted by his Majesties Royal Predecessors King William & Queen Mary for themselves their Heirs &c forever and both or either of them if put into Execution will shake the Foundations of that free & happy Constitution which is the Birthright of the English Subjects, and totally destroy the inestimable Blessing of Security in Life Liberty and Property.”

“By your own Acknowledgment, the refusal of the People to yield obedience to these Acts is far from being confind to a Faction in the Town of Boston: It is general through the province. And we do now assure your Excellency, that this Refusal is vindicable, in the opinion of this Congress, by the Laws of Reason and Self preservation and the People ought to be and will be supported in it by the united Voice and Efforts of all America. ”

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1
George Washington to Robert Mackenzie

Dear Sir, Philadelphia 9th October 1774
Your letter on the 13th ulto.,(1) from Boston, gave me pleasure, as I learnt thereby that you were well, and might be expected at Mount Vernon in your way to or from James river, in the course of the winter.

When I have said this, permit me with the freedom of a friend, (for you know I always esteemed you) to express my sorry at For tune's placing you in a service, that must fix curses to [the] latest posterity upon the diabolical contrivers and, if success (which by the by is impossible) accompanies it, execrations upon all those who have been instrumental in the execution.

I do not mean by this to insinuate that an officer is not to dis charge his duty, even when chance, not choice, has placed him in a disagreeable situation but I conceive, when you condemn the conduct of the Massachusetts People, you reason from effects, not causes otherwise you would not wonder at a people who are every day receiving fresh proofs of a Systematic exertion of an arbitrary power, deeply planned to overturn the Laws & Constitution of their Country, & to violate the most essential & valuable rights of mankind, being irritated, & with difficulty restrained from acts of the greatest violence and intemperance. For my own part, I confess to you candidly, that I view things in a very different point of light to the one in which you seem to consider them and though you are led to believe, by venal men (for such I must take the liberty of calling those new fangled Counsellors which fly to & surround you, & all others, who, for honorary or pecuniary gratifications will lend their aid to overturn the Constitution, & introduce a system of arbitrary Government) altho' you are taught, I say, by discoursing with such men, to believe that the people of Massachusetts are rebeilious, setting up for independency & what not give me leave, my good friend, to tell you, that you are abused--grossly abused and this I advance with a degree of confidence, & boldness which may claim your belief having better opportunities of knowing the real sentiments of the people you are among, from the Leaders of them, in opposition to the present measures of Administration, than you have from those whose business it is not to disclose truth, but to misrepresent facts in order to justify as much as possible to the world, their own conduct for give me leave to add, & I think I can announce it as a fact, that it is not the wish or interest of that Government, or any other upon this Continent, separately, or collectively, to set up for Independency but this you may at the same time rely on, that none of them will ever submit to the loss of those valuable rights & privileges which are essential to the happiness of every free State, and without which, Life, Liberty & property are rendered totally insecure.

These Sir, being certain consequences which must naturally result from the late acts of Parliament relative to America in general, & the Government of Massachusetts Bay in particular, is it to be wonder'd at, I repeat, that Men who wish to avert the impending blow, should attempt to oppose it in its progress, or prepare for their defence, if it cannot be diverted? Surely I may be allowed to answer in the negative & give me leave to add, as my opinion, that more blood will be spilt on this occasion (if the Ministry are determined to push matters to extremity) than history has ever yet furnished instances of in the annals of North America and such a vital wound given to the peace of this great Country, as time itself cannot cure or eradicate the remembrance of.

But I have done. I was involuntarily led into a short discussion of this subject by your remarks on the conduct of the Boston People & your opinion of their wishes to set up for independency. I am as well satisfied, as I can be of my existence, that no such thing is desired by any thinking man in all North America on the contrary, that it is the ardent wish of the warmest advocates for liberty, that peace & tranquility, Upon constitutional grounds, may be restored, & the hor- rors of civil discord prevented.

I am very glad to hear that my friend Stewart was well when you left London I have not had a letter from him these five years, nor heard of him, I think, for two. I wish you had mentioned his em- ployment. Poor Mercer! I often hear from him much cause has he, I fear, to lament his having fallen into the accursed state of attendance & dependance. I remain with very great esteem, Dr. Sir, Your most Obedt. Servt. G. Washington

LB (DLC) . Addressed: "To Capt. Robert McKenzie."
1 Mackenzie's letter is in the Washington Papers, DLC, and is printed in Stanislaus M. Hamilton, cd., Letters to Washington and Accompanying Papers Published by the Society of the Colonial Dames of America, 5 vols (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1898-1902), 5:49-50. Mackenzie, a captain in Washington's Virginia regiment during the French and Indian War, had obtained a lieutenant's commission in the Forty-third Regiment of Foot, which was among the British units stationed at Boston.

Journals of the Continental Congress,
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1774.

“. 1. That the power of making laws for ordering or regulating the internal polity of these Colonies, is, within the limits of each Colony, respectively and exclusively vested in the Provincial Legislature of such Colony and that all statutes for ordering or regulating the internal polity of the said Colonies, or any of them, in any manner or in any case what-soever, are illegal and void. at these arbitrary proceeding of parliament and administration, have severally elected, constituted, and appointed deputies to meet and sit in general congress, in the city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties may not be subverted:

Whereupon the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these Colonies, taking into their most serious consideration, the best means of attaining the ends aforesaid, do, in the first place, as Englishmen, their ancestors in like cases have usually done, for asserting and vindicating their rights and liberties, declare,

That the inhabitants of the English Colonies in North America, by the immutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or compacts, have the following Rights:

Resolved, N. C. D. 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, & property, and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.

2. That all statutes, for taxing the people of the said colonies, are illegal and void.

3. That all the statutes before mentioned, for the purpose of raising a revenue, by imposing 'rates and duties' payable in these Colonies, establishing a Board of Commissioners, and extending the jurisdiction of Courts of Admiralty, for the collection of such 'rates and duties' are illegal and void.

4. That Judges, within these Colonies, ought not to be dependent on the Crown only and that their commissions ought to be during good behavior.

Resolved, N. C. D. 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, were at the time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free and natural-born subjects, within the realm of England.

Resolved, N. C. D. 3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and enjoyment of all such of them, as their local and other circumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy. ”

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1
Silas Deane to Samuel Webb

Dear Saml. Philadelphia 14th May 1775.

As You will See my Letters to Mrs. Deane I shall not enlarge on incidents referr'd to, and sketchd out in them. The Military Spirit is higher in this City, even among the Freinds, than in Connecticut. Have Your Letter of the 7th and wish Your Sister, was well out of Boston. Let Effects go where they will, it is not a Time to dispute, about property, when Liberty and Life are attacked. There is a talk of Adjg. to Hartford but this is out Doors chat, so no dependance can be laid on what the Resolution may finally be.(1) No place offers for Your Brother, indeed Business, is but a Secondary Object, in this City. Young Mr. Gadsden is here in bad State of health, will visit Connecticut, before he returns. Our Family is small, & agreeable, give my Compts. & Love to Your Brother and the Family. I am Dear Saml. Yours Silas Deane

Journals of the Continental Congress,
SATURDAY JULY 8, 1775

". Another Act of your Legislature shuts our Ports, and prohibits our Trade with any but those States from whom the great Law of self-preservation renders it absolutely necessary we should at present withhold our Commerce. But this Act (whatever may have been its design) we consider rather as injurious to your Opulence than our Interest. All our Commerce terminates with you and the Wealth we procure from other Nations, is soon exchanged for your Superfluities. Our remittances must then cease with our trade and our refinements with our Affluence. We trust, however, that Laws which deprive as of every Blessing but a Soil that teems with the necessaries of Life, and that Liberty which renders the enjoyment of them secure, will not relax our Vigour in their Defence.

"We might here observe on the Cruelty and Inconsistency of those, who, while they publicly Brand us with reproachful and unworthy Epithets, endeavour to deprive us of the means of defence, by their Interposition with foreign Powers, and to deliver us to the lawless Ravages of a merciless Soldiery. But happily we are not without Resources and though the timid and humiliating Applications of a British Ministry should prevail with foreign Nations, yet Industry, prompted by necessity, will not leave us without the necessary Supplies. "

". We could wish to go no further, and, not to wound the Ear of Humanity, leave untold those rigorous Acts of Oppression, which are daily exercised in the Town of Boston, did we not hope, that by disclaiming their Deeds and punishing the Perpetrators, you would shortly vindicate the Honour of the British Name, and re-establish the violated Laws of Justice.

That once populous, flourishing and commercial Town is now garrisoned by an Army sent not to protect, but to enslave its Inhabitants. The civil Government is overturned, and a military Despotism created upon its Ruins. Without Law, without Right, Powers are assumed unknown to the Constitution. Private Property is unjustly invaded. The Inhabitants, daily subjected to the Licentiousness of the Soldiery, are forbid to remove in Defiance of their natural Rights, in Violation of the most solemn Compacts. "

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 2
Samuel Ward to Deborah Ward

“My dearest Debby Philadelphia 12th. Octr. 1775

Your Letter accompanying your Sisters was very acceptable. I shall always be pleased to receive Letters from you & write to you and though your Daddy does not always write a very good Letter the Correspondence probably will be no Injury to You. Your Aunts I imagine are with you before this Time, their Company I doubt not will be agreable and instructive. I could wish it was in my Power to give you & all the rest of my dear Tribe a better Education but when all that We have is called in Question by wicked men if We can but preserve Life Liberty & Property we shall be happy. You must endeavour to polish & improve each other. ”

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 2
Samuel Ward to Henry Ward

Dear Bror. Philadela. 31st Decr. 1775.

“. The Plan of Union I agree ought to be setled this Winter but the Terms you propose I dont like. You say Representation ought to be as equal as possible. Agreed, but what is to be represented-not the Individuals of a particular Community but several States, Colonies or Bodies corporate. All Writers agree that a Nation is to be considered as one Person, one moral accountable Person having a Will of its own &c. Your Proposition allows to the larger Colonies several Wills & to the smaller not one, that is not one entire or compleat Will, & thereby makes the smaller wholly dependent on the larger but You say Justice requires that the larger Colonies having a great number of Inhabitants & a greater Share of Property should have a proportionably greater Share of Representation. Let us see how the Doctrine will apply to individuals. One Man hath a numerous Family & is possessed of a large Estate, another has only a small Family & a little Estate. Is not the Life, the Family, Liberty & Property of the poor man being his all of as much Importance to and as dear to him as the larger all of the rich Man. Most clearly they are, surely then he may be equally intrusted with the Care of that all, and Justice cannot require that he should be deprived of any Part of the Means of self Preservation that they may be transfered to another and yet if you allow to one of them a single Voice, to the other two or three Voices, You certainly (selfish as people in general are) deprive one of the Means of Self Preservation or defence and put him wholly in the Power of the other. Do not the numerous Family & Fortune of the one give him suflicient Weight &c Influence, surely they do, he can have no Right to more, the Laws have therefore wisely given to the Man of a fixed moderate Estate an equal Voice with him who is worth a hundred Times as much. ”

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.

George Washington, January 3, 1776, General Orders

“. It is expected that the Commanding Officers of Regiments, will be exceedingly attentive to the training, exercising and disciplining their men bringing them as soon as possible acquainted with the different Evolutions and Manoeuvres, necessary to be practiced and as nothing reflects more disgrace upon an Officer, or is more pernicious and dangerous in itself, than suffering Arms to be in bad order the General assures the Officers and Men, that he will never overlook, or pardon, a neglect of this kind--There are many practices in Regular Service, highly worthy of Imitation, but none more essential than this, and keeping Soldiers always clean and neat: The first, is absolutely necessary for self-preservation the other, for health and appearance for if a Soldier cannot be induced to take pride in his person, he will soon become a Sloven, and indifferent to every thing else--Whilst we have Men therefore who in every respect are superior to mercenary Troops, that are fighting for two pence or three pence a day: Why cannot we in appearance also be superior to them, when we fight for Life, Liberty, Property and our Country? . ”

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume: 3
Samuel Ward to John Ward

"My dear Son (1) Philadelpa. 10th Feby. 1776

"The old Proverb is with You "better late than never." I have sometimes been displeased that you have not obeyed my Commands & wrote to Me. I will however forgive you but dont omit for the future to write to Me once a Month at least & let me know all about the Business of the Farm & Stock, how you all do, how you imploy your time, what Progress in learning you make and what Books you read.

"Goods you observe are scarce We must learn to manufacture every thing necessary and to do with out every thing else. When the Enemy has invaded our Lives, Liberty and Property, We must exert every Nerve to defend them when We have once secured them, let Us turn our Attention to the Conveniences of Life- but without Liberty my dearest there is no safety or enjoyment in Life. Could you read History and see the dreadful Miseries of the unhappy People who have lost their Liberty, young as you are I believe you would consent to give up Goods, Business & ease & every pleasure and chearfully suffer all the Dangers & Hardships of War & even risque your Life in Defence of your Country rather than submit to that horrid State of Oppression, Slavery & Misery which others now groan under & Britain is trying to reduce Us to. The War between the Dutch & the Spaniards, lasted sixty years should this War last one quarter so long you would be able to take up Arms in Defence of your Country Cherish therefore the Love of Liberty & your Country which next to the Love of God I have endeavoured to plant in your tender heart that you may be qualified the Moment your Age & Strength allow it bravely to take up Arms in the Defence of your dear Country if necessary. "

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume: 3
John Adams' Notes of Debates

". McKean. Construes the Instructions from N. York as Mr. Sherman does, and thinks this Measure the best to produce Harmony with G. Britain. There are now 2 Governments in direct Opposition to each other. Dont doubt that foreign Mercenaries are coming to destroy Us. I do think We shall loose our Liberties, Properties and Lives too, if We do not take this Step.

S. Adams. We have been favoured with a Reading of the Instructions from N. York. I am glad of it. The first Object of that Colony is no doubt the Establishment of their Rights. Our Petitions have not been heard-yet answered with Fleets and Armies and are to be answered with Mirmidons from abroad. The Gentleman from N. York, Mr. Duane, has not objected to the Preamble, but this-he has not a Right to vote for it. We cant go upon stronger Reasons, than that the King has thrown us out of his Protection. Why should We support Governments under his Authority? I wonder the People have conducted so well as they have. "

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 4
John Dickinson's Notes for a Speech in Congress

“. It was a Custom in a wise and virtuous State, to preface Propositions in Council, with a prayer, that they might redound to the public Benefit. I beg Leave to imitate the laudable Example. And I do most humbly implore Almighty God, with whom dwells Wisdom itself, so to enlighten the Members of this House, that their Decision may be such as will best promote the Liberty, Safety and Prosperity of these Colonies-and for Myself, that his Divine Goodness may be graciously pleased to enable Me, to speak the Precepts of sound Policy on the important Question that now engages our Attention.

Sir, Gentlemen of very distinguished Abilities and Knowledge differ widely in their Sentiments upon the Point now agitated. They all agree, that the utmost Prudence is required in forming our Decision-But immediately disagree in their Notions of that Prudence, Some cautiously insisting, that We ought to obtain That previous Information which We are likely quickly to obtain, and to make those previous Establishments that are acknowledged to be necessary-Others strenously asserting, that tho regularly such Information & Establishment ought to precede the Measure proposed, yet, confiding in our Fortune more boldly than Caesar himself, We ought to brave the Storm in a Skiff made of Paper.

In all such Cases, where every Argument is adorn'd with an Eloquence that may please and yet mislead, it seems to me [the proper method of?] discovering the right Path, to enquire, which of the parties is probably the most warm'd by Passion. Other Circumstances being equal or nearly equal, that Consideration would have Influence with Me. I fear the Virtue of Americans. Resentment of the Injuries offered to their Country, may irritate them to Counsels & to Actions that may be detrimental to the Cause they would dye to advance.
What Advantages? 2. 1. Animate People. 2. Convince foreign Powers of our Strength & Unanimity, & aid in consequence thereof.
As to 1st-Unnecessary. Life, Liberty & Property sufficient Motive. General Spirit of America.

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 4
Benjamin Rush's Notes for a Speech in Congress

“. The members of the congress it is true are appointed by States, but represent] the people-& no State hath a right to alienate the privilege of equal representation: it belongs solely [to] the people. The Objects before us are the people's rights, not the rights of States. Every man in America stands related to two legislative bodies-he deposits his property, liberty & life with his own State, but his trade [and] Arms, the means of enriching & defending himself & his honor, he deposits with the congress.
If entitled to equal representation] in the first case, why not in the second?(3) .

. 3 At this point, Rush attached a small sheet of paper to his notes with sealing wax, masking over the following passage, which he probably ignored when he delivered his speech. "One right excepted which belong [to] States-boundaries- this perhaps by colony Voting. The rest are all the rights of individuals-no state can alienate them."

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.

George Washington, August 13, 1776, General Orders

“. The Enemy's whole reinforcement is now arrived, so that an Attack must, and will soon be made The General therefore again repeats his earnest request, that every officer, and soldier, will have his Arms and Ammunition in good Order, keep within their quarters and encampment, as much as possible be ready for action at a moments call and when called to it, remember that Liberty, Property, Life and Honor, are all at stake that upon their Courage and Conduct, rest the hopes of their bleeding and insulted Country that their Wives, Children and Parents, expect Safety from them only, and that we have every reason to expect Heaven will crown with Success, so just a cause. The enemy will endeavour to intimidate by shew and appearance, but remember how they have been repulsed, on various occasions, by a few brave Americans Their Cause is bad their men are conscious of it, and if opposed with firmness, and coolness, at their first onsett, with our advantage of Works, and Knowledge of the Ground Victory is most assuredly ours. ”

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 5
William Hooper to Joseph Hewes

“. I lament the late changes in your Convention. To what strange infatuation has been owing the removal of Mr Johnston from your Councils. At a time when the Abilities of the first Characters in the State are necessary to give you a Constitution which will secure happiness, Life, liberty & property to the Inhabitants, you have deprived yourself of the most able head in North Carolina and as good a heart as God ever made. Is it become criminal then to stretch forth the hand of compassion, & shed the tear of pity upon suffering weakness. Is not liberty the same to one Class of beings as to another, or are a few of us Gods Elect who have a right to think & act as we please, without suffering any others to step within the pale of our Privileges. I confess there are few incidents which have taken place since my entrance into publick life which have given me equal distress. Past services seem to be no security for future preferment & a life far exhausted in promoting the publick good is to close under the greatest Example of Ingratitude that ever marked a people. In dust and ashes may they attone for it, to God & to my friend, & the friend of his Country.(2) .

1 A comparison of this letter with the one Hooper wrote to the North Carolina Convention on November 16 strongly suggests that both were composed on the same day. Burnett conjectured that the last five paragraphs and postscript of this letter were written sometime after the 16th because "It does not appear, for instance, that on the 16th the incorrectness of Searle's information had yet been discovered." In fact Congress had learned as early as November 15 that Searle's intelligence was in error. See Burnett, Letters, 2:155n.2 and Board of War to the Pennsylvania Associators, November 14, 1776, note,

2 Samuel Johnston had not been elected to the North Carolina Provincial Congress which met at Halifax from November 12 to December 23, 1776, and drew up North Carolina's first state constitution. ”

Journals of the Continental Congress,

To the inhabitants of the United States.

". Arms were employed to punish you for not surrendering your Birth-right and to wrest from you what you would not, relinquish. What remained on your Part, to be done? To oppose Force by Force. The Sword that is drawn in the Defence of Liberty is consecrated. "

". But the Means of Freedom will never be wanting to those, who resolve to be free. Liberty was, in happier Times, enjoyed under the British Constitution: It will grow however with proper Culture, in every Soil. The [transplanted] Branch which is transplanted will flourish, though the Root be rotten. By your Authority your Delegates, in Congress assembled declared that you were free and Independent States. "

". Was it necessary for you to enter into this Controversy? An Attention to its Importance will discover the true Answer. It was not a Dispute about Affairs of trivial Consequence--about Claims or Rights which might have been admitted or given up, without materially affecting you. Your Property and your Lives--your Liberties and those of your Posterity--every Thing on Earth worth contending for--all were involved in the Decision of the momentous Conflict. "

". If it was necessary to enter into the Controversy, at what Stage in its Progress, ought you to have stopt? Are there certain Lengths, to which Freemen may go, in asserting their Freedom, and no farther? Does the sacred Blessing deserve a Petition or a Remonstrance, and nothing more? If Arms may be taken up in its Defence, when should they be laid down? When the Attack upon it is abandoned, or effectually repulsed.

"The Truth is, that Independence was the natural, and when it was declared, the necessary Result of your Determination to defend and of the Determination of your Enemies to destroy your Liberties that the Support of it is now become essential to the Success of your Cause and that every Bar to an Accommodation with Great Britain which existed before it, exists still. Every Principle, which justified your Opposition at its Commencement, justifies it at its present Height. "

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.

George Washington, February 28, 1782, General Orders

Head Quarters, Philadelphia, Thursday, February 28, 1782.

At a general Court Martial held in Philadelphia January 29, 1782, whereof Col Nichola is President, Colonel Daniel Brodhead of the first Pennsylvania Regiment was Tryed on the following Charges viz. first for various specious and unwarrantable attempts on the life, liberty and property of the good people of this Country, highly oppressive and injurious to individuals and detrimental to the common weal, by rendering what is most valuable to free men uncertain and precarious.

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.

Mount Vernon, November 5, 1786.

“. How melancholy is the reflection, that in so short a space, we should have made such large strides towards fulfilling the prediction of our transatlantic foe! "leave them to themselves, and their government will soon dissolve." Will not the wise and good strive hard to avert this evil? Or will their supineness suffer ignorance, and the arts of self-interested designing disaffected and desperate characters, to involve this rising empire in wretchedness and contempt? What stronger evidence can be given of the want of energy in our governments than these disorders? If there exists not a power to check them, what security has a man for life, liberty, or property? To you, I am sure I need not add aught on this subject, the consequences of a lax, or inefficient government, are too obvious to be dwelt on. Thirteen Sovereignties pulling against each other, and all tugging at the foederal head will soon bring ruin on the whole whereas a liberal, and energetic Constitution, well guarded and closely watched, to prevent incroachments, might restore us to that degree of respectability and consequence, to which we had a fair claim, and the brightest prospect of attaining. With sentiments of the sincerest esteem etc.46”

[Note 46: From a facsimile in the Washington-Madison Papers sales catalogue (The McGuire Collection), 1892.]

The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 [Farrand's Records, Volume 3]
XXXVI. George Washington to La Fayette.2

[Note 2: 2 Documentary History of the Constitution, IV, 184.]

Philadelphia, June 6th 1787.

It was, when I came here, and still is, my intention, to write you a long letter from this place before I leave it, but the hour is not yet come when I can do it to my own Satisfaction or for your information. I therefore shall wait till the result of the present meeting is more matured, and till the members who constitute it are at liberty to communicate the proceedings more freely before I attempt it.

You will I dare say, be surprized my dear Marquis to receive a letter from me at this place, -- you will probably, be more so, when you hear that I am again brought, contrary to my public declaration, and intention, on a public theatre -- such is the viscissitude of human affairs, and such the frailty of human nature that no man I conceive can well answer for the resolutions he enters into.

The pressure of the public voice was so loud, I could not resist the call to a convention of the States which is to determine whether we are to have a Government of respectability under which life--liberty, and property will be secured to us, or are to submit to one which may be the result of chance or the moment, springing perhaps from anarchy and Confusion, and dictated perhaps by some aspiring demagogue who will not consult the interest of his Country so much as his own ambitious views. What my be the result of the present deliberations is more than I am able, at present, if I was at liberty, to inform you, & therefore I will make this letter short, with the assurance of being more particular when I can be more satisfactory--

The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 [Farrand's Records, Volume 1]
YATES

“. Wilson (James)--In the Establishment of society every man yields his life, his liberty, property & Character to the society. there is no reservation of this sort, that the individual shall be subject to one and exempt from another Law--Indeed we have seen the Legislatures in our own Country deprive the citizen of Life, of Liberty, & property we have seen Attainders, Banishment, & Confiscations.

If we mean to establish a national Govt. the States must submit themselves as individuals--the lawful Government must be supreme--either the Genl. or the State Government must be supreme--We must remember the language with wh. we began the Revolution, it was this, Virginia is no more, Massachusetts is no more--we are one in name, let us be one in Truth & Fact--Unless this power is vested in the Genl. Govt. the States will be used by foreign powers as Engines agt the Whole--New States will be soon formed, the Inhabitants may be foreigners and possess foreign affections, unless the Genl. Govt. can check their State laws they may involve the Nation in Tumult and Confusion. ”

The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787
reported by James Madison: July 5

“. Life & liberty were generally said to be of more value, than property. ” - Gouverneur Morris

The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution [Elliot's Debates, Volume 3]
Saturday, June 21, 1788.

“. Gov. (Edmund) RANDOLPH, (Virginia). Mr. Chairman, I shall state to the committee in what cases the federal judiciary appears to me to deserve applause, and where it merits dispraise. It has not yet been denied that a federal judiciary is necessary to a certain extent, Every government necessarily involves a judiciary as a constituent part. If, then, a federal judiciary be necessary, what are the characters of its powers? That it shall be auxiliary to the federal government, support and maintain harmony between the United States and foreign powers, and between different states, and prevent a failure of.justice in cases to which particular state courts are incompetent. If this judiciary be reviewed as relative to these purposes, I think it will be found that nothing is granted which does not belong to a federal judiciary. Self-defence is its first object. Has not the Constitution said that the states shall not use such and such powers, and given exclusive powers to Congress? If the state judiciaries could make decisions conformable to the laws of their states, in derogation to the general government, I humbly apprehend that the federal government would soon be encroached upon. If a particular state should be at liberty, through its judiciary, to prevent or impede the operation of the general government, the latter must soon be undermined. It is, then, necessary that its jurisdiction should "extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this Constitution and the laws of the United States."

“Its next object is to perpetuate harmony between us and foreign powers. The general government, having the superintendency of the general safety, ought to be the judges how the United States can be most effectually secured and guarded against controversies with foreign nations. I presume, therefore, that treaties and cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, and all those concerning foreigners, will not be considered as improper subjects for a federal judiciary. Harmony between the states is no less necessary than harmony between foreign states and the United States. Disputes between them ought, therefore, to be decided by the federal judiciary. Give me leave to state some instances which have actually happened, which prove to me the necessity of the power of deciding controversies between two or more states. The disputes between Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island and Connecticut, have been mentioned. I need not particularize these. Instances have happened in Virginia. There have been disputes respecting boundaries. Under the old government, as well as this, reprisals have been made by Pennsylvania and Virginia on one another. Reprisals have been made by the very judiciary of Pennsylvania on the citizens of Virginia. Their differences concerning their boundaries are not yet perhaps ultimately determined. The legislature of Virginia, in one instance, thought this power right. In the case of Mr. Nathan, they thought the determination of the dispute ought to be out of the state, for fear of partiality.

“It is with respect to the rights of territory that the state judiciaries are not competent. If the claimants have a right to the territories claimed, it is the duty of a good government to provide means to put them in possession of them. If there be no remedy, it is the duty of the general government to furnish one.

“Cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction cannot, with propriety, be vested in particular state courts. As our national tranquillity and reputation, and intercourse with foreign nations, may be affected by admiralty decisions as they ought, therefore, to be uniform and as there can be no uniformity if there be thirteen distinct, independent jurisdictions,--this jurisdiction ought to be in the federal judiciary. On these principles, I conceive the subjects themselves are proper for the federal judiciary.

“Although I do not concur with the honorable gentleman that the judiciary is so formidable, yet I candidly admit that there are defects in its construction, among which may be objected too great an extension of jurisdiction. I cannot say, by any means, that its jurisdiction is free from fault, though I conceive the subjects to be proper. It is ambiguous in some parts, and unnecessarily extensive in others. It extends to all cases in law and equity arising under the Constitution. What are these cases of law and equity? Do they not involve all rights, from an inchoate right to a complete right, arising from this Constitution? Notwithstanding the contempt gentlemen express for technical terms, I wish such were mentioned here. I would have thought it more safe if it had been more clearly expressed. What do we mean by the words arising under the Constitution? What, do they relate to? I conceive this to be very ambiguous. If my interpretation be right, the word arising will be carried so far that it will be made use of to aid and extend the federal jurisdiction.

“As to controversies between the citizens of different states, I am sure the general government will make provision to prevent men being harassed to the federal court. But I do not see any absolute necessity for vesting it with jurisdiction in these cases.

“With respect to that part which gives appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, I concur with the honorable gentleman who presides, that it is unfortunate, and my lamentation over it would be incessant, were there no remedy. I can see no reason for giving it jurisdiction with respect to fact as well as law because we find, from our own experience, that appeals as to fact are not necessary. My objection would be unanswerable, were I not satisfied that it contains its own cure, in the following words: "with such exceptions and under such regulations as Congress shall make." It was insisted on by gentlemen that these words could not extend to law and fact, and that they could not separate the fact from the law. This construction is irrational for, if they cannot separate the law from the fact, and if the exceptions are prevented from applying to law and fact, these words would have no force at all. It would be proper to refer here to any thing that could be understood in the federal court. They may except generally both as to law and fact, or they may except as to the law only, or fact only. Under these impressions, I have no difficulty in saving that I consider it as an unfortunate clause. But when I thus impeach it, the same candor which I have hitherto followed calls upon me to declare that it is not so dangerous as it has been represented. Congress can regulate it properly, and I have no doubt they will. An honorable gentleman has asked, Will you put the body of the state in prison? How is it between independent states? If a government refuses to do justice to individuals, war is the consequence. Is this the bloody alternative to which we are referred? Suppose justice was refused to be done by a particular state to another I am not of the same opinion with the honorable gentleman. I think, whatever the law of nations may say, that any doubt respecting the construction that a state may be plaintiff, and not defendant, is taken away by the words where a state shall be a party. But it is objected that this is retrospective in its nature. If thoroughly considered, this objection will vanish. It is only to render valid and effective existing claims, and secure that justice, ultimately, which is to be found in every regular government. It is said to be disgraceful. What would be the disgrace? Would it not be that Virginia, after eight states had adopted the government, none of which opposed the federal jurisdiction in this case, rejected it on this account? I was surprised, after hearing him speak so strenuously in praise of the trial by jury, that he would rather give it up than have it regulated as it is in the Constitution. Why? Because it is not established in civil cases, and in criminal cases the jury will not come from the vicinage. It is not excluded in civil cases, nor is a jury from the vicinage in criminal cases excluded. This house has resounded repeatedly with this observation--that where a term is used, all its concomitants follow from the same phrase. Thus, as the trial by jury is established in criminal cases, the incidental right of challenging and excepting is also established, which secures, in the utmost latitude, the benefit of impartiality in the jurors. I beg those gentlemen who deny this doctrine to inform me what part of the bill of English rights, or Great Charter, provides this fight. The Great Charter only provides that "no man shall be deprived of the free enjoyment of his life, liberty, or property, unless declared to be forfeited by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land." The bill of rights gives no additional security on the subject of trial by jury. Where is the provision made, in England, that a jury shall be had in civil cases? This is secured by no constitutional provision. It is left to the temper and genius of the people to preserve and protect it.

“I beg leave to differ from my honorable friends in answering this objection. They said that, in case of a general rebellion, the jury was to be drawn from some other part of the country. I know that this practice is sanctified by the usages in England. But I always thought that this was one of those instances to which that nation, though alive to liberty, had unguardedly submitted. I hope it will never be so here. If the whole country be in arms, the prosecutor for the commonwealth can get a good jury, by challenging improper jurors. The right of challenging, also, is sufficient security for the person accused. I can see no instance where this can be abused. It will answer every purpose of the government, and individual security. ”

“. But I never thought so, nor do I now. If, in the ratification, we put words to this purpose*, "and that all authority not given is retained by the people, and may be resumed when perverted to their oppression and that no right can be cancelled, abridged, or restrained, by the Congress, or any officer of the United States,"--I say, if we do this, I conceive that, as this style of ratification would manifest the principles on which Virginia adopted it, we should be at liberty to consider as a violation of the Constitution every exercise of a power not expressly delegated therein. I see no objection to this. It is demonstrably clear to me that rights not given are retained, and that liberty of religion, and other rights, are secure. I hope this committee will not reject it for faults which can be corrected, when they see the consequent confusion that will follow.”

And, indeed those words, (and more), were put in six days later

"That there be a declaration or bill of rights asserting, and securing from encroachment, the essential and unalienable rights of the people, in some such manner as the following:--

"1st. That there are certain natural rights, of which men, when they form a social compact, cannot deprive or divest their posterity among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

"2d. That all power is naturally invested in, and consequently de, rived from, the people that magistrates therefore are their trustees and agents, at all times amenable to them. ”

"7th. That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without the consent of the representatives of the people in the legislature, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised. ”

"14th. That every freeman has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person, his papers, and property all warrants, therefore, to search suspected places, or seize any freeman, his papers, or property, without information on oath (or affirmation of a person religiously scrupulous of taking an oath) of legal and sufficient cause, are grievous and oppressive and all general warrants to search suspected places, or to apprehend any suspected person, without specially naming or describing the place or person, are dangerous, and ought not to be granted.

"17th. That the people have a right to keep and bear arms that a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

"18th. That no soldier in time of peace ought to be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, and in time of war in such manner only as the law directs.

"19th. That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted, upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead.

"20th. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence and therefore all men have an equal, natural, and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience, and that no particular religious sect or society ought to be favored or established, by law, in preference to others."

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1789.

“. On motion that this last mentioned article be amended, to read as follows: 'No person shall be held to answer for a Capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service, in time of war or public danger nor shall any person be subject to be put in jeopardy of life or limb, for the same offence nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation:'

It passed in the affirmative. (There can be no “due process of law” when the legislature is expressly forbidden from enacting laws that would “infringe” against a specifically reserved right).

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16, 1790.

“. A written message from the President of the United States was communicated by Mr. Lear, his Secretary. And he withdrew.

Gentlemen of the Senate,
and House of Representatives:

The ratification of the constitution of the United States of America by the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, was received by me last night together with a letter to the President of the United States from the President of the convention. I have directed my Secretary to lay before you a copy of each.

United States, June 16, 1790.

“. [The constitution of the United States of America, precedes the following ratification.]

Ratification of the constitution by the convention of the state of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations.

We, the delegates of the people of the state of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, duly elected, and met in convention, having maturely considered the constitution for the United States of America, agreed to on the seventeenth day of September, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, by the convention then assembled at Philadelphia, in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, (a copy Whereof precedes these presents) and having also seriously and deliberately considered the present situation of this state, do declare and make known:

1st. That there are certain natural rights, of which men, when they form a social compact, cannot deprive or divest their posterity, among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

17th. That the people have a right to keep and bear arms that a well regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state that the militia shall not be subject to martial law, except in time of war, rebellion, or insurrection that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in eases of necessity and that at all times, the military should be under strict subordination to the civil power. ”

“. Under these impressions, and declaring that the rights aforesaid cannot be abridged or violated, and that the explanations aforesaid are consistent With the said constitution and in confidence that the amendments hereafter mentioned will receive an early and mature consideration, and conformably to the fifth article of said constitution speedily become a part thereof: we, the said. delegates, in the name, and in the behalf, of the people of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, do, by these presents, assent to, and ratify, the said constitution. ”

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1805.

". On this first occasion of addressing Congress, since, by the choice of my constituents, I have entered on a second term of administration, I embrace the opportunity to give this public assurance, that I will exert my best endeavors to administer faithfully the Executive Department, and will zealously co-operate with you in every measure which may tend to secure the liberty, property, and personal safety, of our fellow-citizens, and to consolidate the republican forms and principles of our government. "

- President Thomas Jefferson, Address To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America.

The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, 1900. Washington ed. ix, 498.

"We owe every other sacrifice to ourselves, to our federal brethren, and to the world at large, to pursue with temper and perseverence the great experiment which shall prove that man is capable of living in society, governing itself by laws self-imposed, and securing to its members the enjoyment of life, liberty, property and peace and further to show, that even when the government of its choice shall manifest a tendency to degenercy, we are not at once to despair but that the will and the watchfulness of its sounder parts will reform its aberrations, recall it to original and legitimate principles and restrain it within the rightful limits of self-government."

- Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Protest, 1825.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
WEDNESDAY, December 6, 1848.

“. From the adoption of the federal constitution, during a period of sixty years, our progress as a nation has been without example in the annals of history. Under the protection of a bountiful Providence, we have advanced with giant strides in the career of wealth and prosperity. We have enjoyed the blessings of freedom to a greater extent than any other people, ancient or modern, under a government which has preserved order, and secured to every citizen life, liberty, and property. ”

“. Holding as a sacred trust the executive authority for the whole Union, and bound to guard the rights of all, I should be constrained, by a sense of duty, to withhold my official sanction from any measure which would conflict with these important objects.

“I cannot more appropriately close this message than by quoting from the farewell address of the father of his country. His warning voice can never be heard in vain by the American people. If the spirit of prophecy had distinctly presented to his view, more than a half century ago, the present distracted condition of his country, the language which he then employed could not have been more appropriate than it is to the present occasion. He declared:

"The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home your peace abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, of float very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes, and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it accustoming yourselves to think and to speak of it as a palladium of your political safety and prosperity watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned, and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

"For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of AMERICAN which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have, in a common cause, fought and triumphed together. The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and success. With such powerful and obvious motives to union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.

"In contemplating the causes which may disturb our union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations--Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is, to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart burnings which spring from these misrepresentations. They tend to alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection."

- President James K. Polk, Washington, August 14, 1848.

"Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place."

- Frederic Bastiat, "The Law" 1850.

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,

“. "Sec. 16. And be it further enacted, That no person demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments in said Territory that the inhabitants of said Territory shall always be entitled to the benefits of the writ of habeas corpus, of trial by jury, of proportionate representation of the people in the legislature, and of judicial proceedings according to the course of the common law. All persons shall be bailable unless for capital offences, where the proof shall be evident or the presumption great. All fines shall be moderate, and no cruel or unusual punishments shall be inflicted, No person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land and should the public exigencies make it necessary, for the common preservation, to take any person's property or demand his particular services, full compensation shall be made for the same. And in the just preservation of rights and property, it is understood and declared that no law ought ever to be made or be in force in said Territory that shall in any manner interfere with or affect private contracts or engagements bona fide and without fraud previously proved. And the people of said Territory shall be entitled to the right to keep and bear arms, to the liberty of speech and of the press, as defined in the constitution of the United States, and all other rights of person or property thereby declared and as thereby defined.

"Sec. 17. And be it further enacted, That the following propositions be, and the same are hereby, offered to the said convention of the people of Kansas, when formed, for their free acceptance or rejection, which, if accepted by the convention and ratified by the people at the election for the adoption of the constitution, shall be obligatory on the United States and upon the said State of Kansas, to wit. ”

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

Matthew Birchard, et al. to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, July 01, 1863 (Response to Lincoln's letter of June 29 regarding Vallandigham)

Your answer to the application of the Undersigned for a revocation of the order of banishment of Clement L. Vallandigham requires a reply which they proceed, with as little delay as practicable, to make--

They are not able to appreciate the force of the distinction you make, between the Constitution, and the application of the Constitution, whereby you assume, that powers are delegated to the President at the time of invasion or insurrection, in derogation of the plain language of the Constitution. The inherent provisions of the Constitution, remaining the same in time of insurrection or invasion, as in time of peace, the President can have no more right to disregard their positive and imperative requirements, at the former time, than at the latter. Because some "things may be done" by the terms of the Constitution, at a time of invasion or insurrection, which would not be required by the occasion, in time of peace . . . You assume that any thing whatever, even though not expressed by the Constitution, may be done on the occasion of insurrection or invasion, which the President may choose to say is required by the public safety-- In plainer terms, because the writ of Habeas corpus may be suspended, at the time of invasion or insurrection, you infer, that all other provisions of the Constitution, having in view the protection of the life, liberty, and property of the Citizen, may be in like manner suspended-- The provision relating to the writ of Habeas Corpus, being contained in the first part of the Constitution, the purpose of which, is to define the powers delegated to Congress, has no connection in language, with the declaration of rights, as guaraties of personal liberty contained in the additional, and amendatory articles and in as much as the provision relating to Habeas Corpus, expressly provides for its suspension, and the other provisions alluded to, do not provide for any such thing, the legal conclusion is that the suspension of the latter is unauthorized. The provision for the writ of Habeas Corpus, is merely intended to furnish a summary remedy, and not the means, whereby personal security is conserved, in the final resort while the other provisions are guaranties of personal rights, the suspension of which puts an end to all pretence of free goverment-- It is true Mr. Vallandigham applied for a writ of Habeas Corpus, as a summary remedy against oppression-- But the denial of this did not take away his right to a speedy public trial by an impartial Jury, or deprive him of his other rights as an American Citizen-- Your assumption of the right to suspend all the Constitutional guaranties of personal liberty, and even of the freedom of Speech and of the press, because the summary remedy of Habeas Corpus, may be suspended is at once startling and alarming, to all persons desirous of preserving free government in this Country.

The inquiry of the undersigned, whether "You hold that the rights of every man throughout this vast Country in time of invasion, or insurrection are subject to be annulled, whenever you may say, that You consider the public safety requires it," was a plain question, undisguised by circumlocution, and intended simply to elicit information. Your affirmative answer to this question, throws a shade upon the fondest anticipations of the framers of the Constitution who flattered themselves, that they had provided Safeguards, against the dangers, which have ever beset, and overthrown free goverment in other ages and countries-- Your answer is not to be disguised by the phraseology that the question "is simply a question who shall decide, or an affirmation that no body shall decide what the public safety does require in cases of rebellion or invasion." Our government was designed to be a government of law settled and defined, and not of the arbitrary will of a single man. As a safeguard, the powers delegated were distributed to the legislative, Executive, and judicial branches of the government, and each made co-ordinate with the others, and supreme within its sphere, and thus a mutual check upon each other, in case of abuse of power-- It has been the boast of American people that they had a written Constitution, not only expressly defining, but also limiting the powers of the government, and providing effectual safeguards, for personal liberty, security and property. And to make the matter more positive and explicit, it was provided by the Amendatory articles, nine and ten, that "the enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people" and that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, now prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people." With this care and precaution on the part of our forefathers, who framed our institutions, it was not to be expected that at so early a day as this, a claim of the President to arbitrary power, limited only by his conception of the requirements of the public safety, would have been asserted-- In derogation of the Constitutional provisions making the President strictly an executive officer, and vesting all the delegated legislative power in Congress, your position, as we understand it, would make your will the rule of action and your declarations of the requirements of the public safety the law of the land-- Our inquiry was not therefore, "simply a question who shall decide, or the affirmation that no body shall decide, what the public safety requires." Our government is a government of law, and it is the law making power, which accertains what the public safety requires, and prescribes the rule of action and the duty of the President is simply to execute the laws thus ennacted, and not to make or annul laws--. "

Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States,
FRIDAY, December 20, 1867.

". Mr. Price, by unanimous consent, submitted the following preamble and resolution which were read and referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, viz:

"Whereas the obligation on the part of the subject to obey the laws, support the government, and bear true faith and allegiance thereto, presupposes an obligation on the part of the government to protect and defend the subject, whether native or adopted, whether at home or abroad, in all his rights of life, liberty, and property and whereas numerous cases have recently occurred where the government of Great Britain has, with apparent injustice, deprived our citizens of one or all of these. "

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
THURSDAY, March 23, 1871.

“. The following message was received from the President of the United States, by Mr. Porter, his secretary:

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

A condition of affairs now exists in some of the States of the Union rendering life and property insecure, and the carrying of the mails and the collection of the revenue dangerous.

The proof that such a condition of affairs exists in some localities is now before the Senate. That the power to correct these evils is beyond the control of the State authorities I do not doubt. That the power of the Executive of the United States, acting within the limits of existing laws, is sufficient for present emergencies is not clear.

Therefore, I urgently recommend such legislation as in the judgment of Congress shall effectually secure life, liberty, and property in all parts of the United States.

It may be expedient to provide that such law as shall be passed in pursuance of this recommendation shall expire at the end of the next session of Congress.

There is no other subject on which I would recommend legislation during the present session.

Washington, D. C., March 23, 1871. ”

Journal of the Senate of the United States of America,
WEDNESDAY, April 5, 1871.

". On motion by Mr. Stockton to further amend the resolution so that it would read:

"Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary is instructed to report a bill or bills to enable the President and the courts of the United States to execute the laws, punish and prevent organized violence, and secure to all citizens the rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the United States

"On motion by Mr. Edmunds to amend the amendment proposed by Mr. Stockton by inserting after the word "rights," the words, to life, liberty, and property, and the equal protection of the laws

It was determined in the affirmative. "

Journal of the Senate of the United States, 43rd Congress, 2nd session through 44th Special session
MONDAY, December 7, 1874.

". Mr. Ingalls submitted the following resolution for consideration:

Resolved, That the Committee on Indian Affairs be directed to inquire into the recent disturbances in the Indian Territory, and to report to the Senate what measures are necessary for the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the preservation of law and order in that region, and whether the best interests of civilization do not demand the immediate establishment of courts of the United States in said Territory as provided by the treaties of 1866. "

"The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote they depend on the outcome of no elections."

- Justice Robert H. Jackson, U. S. Supreme Court Justice, (1892-1954). [West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette, 1943.]

It should be quite plain for all to see. That neither the local, state or federal governments have any legally delegated Constitutional authority over arms in the hands of We The People. Rather, it is one of the specific duties of the Federal government. To secure that “inalienable” right from any government encroachments or interferences whatsoever.


Watch the video: The Sailors Creed 10 minutes


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