Securing American Independence: John Jay and the French Alliance

By Frank W. Brecher | Go to book overview

APPENDIX A

A Contemporary View of PreIndependence Military Events and Their Consequences

The following is a summary of what the contemporary History cited in the Preface has to say about military and attendant events prior to the Declaration of Independence:

The Parliamentary resolution for shutting up the port of Boston was no sooner taken than it was determined to order a military force to that quarter in accordance with the King's “prerogative” to station his troops where in his opinion the public service requires. In a combined assignment irritating to the Americans, General Gage in 1774 was assigned to Boston as both commander-in-chief and governor of Massachusetts, arriving there on the very day that the inhabitants thereof passed their vote for recommending the measures of non-importation and nonexportation to be adopted by all the colonies. Nevertheless, they received him with all the usual honors for royal governors. Then came the troops and artillery. Gage's subsequent effort to obtain recognition of Parliamentary superiority was like that of those who sail against the wind, tide and current. The Bostonians were uncommonly ingenious in evading disagreeable acts of Parliament. For example, town meetings were held even after the ban of August 1, 1774; and, in the absence of troops in the rural areas, the population there was able to arm itself.

The courts of justice expired one after the other or were unable to proceed on business. The troops, who were seen as instruments of tyranny, and the population, considered by the government as seditious rioters, greatly irritated each other. The troops were placed at Boston

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