Keyhole to History, 1774, the year Johann Ewald became the leader of the Lieb Jaeger corps. Ewald was born in 1744 in Cassel in the Holy Roman Empire, today Germany, and was part of the so-called “Hessian” troops hired by the British to fight in the Revolutionary War. The Lieb Jaeger corps was an elite group of soldiers known for their short rifles and excellent marksmanship. They were present in most of the major battles in the American Revolution. Ewald and the Hessians were well respected by the American troops and Henry Knox even brought Ewald as a guest to West Point while he was on parole after the surrender at Yorktown. After the war, Ewald returned to Germany and later joined the Dutch Army, which he served in during the Napoleonic Wars. He was an author on various subjects of military affairs including a diary written during his time in the American Revolution in which he wrote his life motto: Honor is like an island, Steep and without a shore; They who once leave, Can never return.
Keyhole to History: March 25, 1774. That’s the date the Boston Port Bill was passed in the House of Commons. The king signed it one week later. This bill, which would close the port of Boston to all shipping, was in direct response to the Boston Tea Party and the people’s response to the Stamp Act. In the debates leading up to its passage, Lord North made the following observations: the bill would contain two advantages. One would enable the king to put an end to the present disturbances in America by making Boston an example to the other colonies. The other would ensure that the colonies would be forced to depend on the Crown of Great Britain for their very existence. Instead, this plan backfired, bringing the colonies even closer together.
Keyhole to History: August 4, 1774. That’s when the good people of Annapolis, Maryland, defied the British and sent goods to their fellow patriots in Boston. When the Boston Port Bill went into effect on June 1, 1774, it closed the port of Boston to all trade and shipping. But the British plan of isolation backfired and Boston became a martyr, helping to unify the colonies even further. Help came pouring in from every colony and on August 4, 1774, the sloop America left Annapolis loaded with three thousand bushels of corn, twenty barrels of rye flour, two barrels of pork, and twenty barrels of bread. This relief effort was made up of individual donations in support of their common cause; helping fellow citizens is now an American tradition.
Today’s Keyhole to History September 28, 1774, Joseph Galloway, presents his Plan of Union before the First Continental Congress as Pennsylvania’s delegate. The Plan of Union worked to unite Great Britain and the North American colonies through a British and American legislature that administered North American colonial affairs. Galloway viewed the political issues dividing America and Great Britain as “a simple constitutional problem” and the responsibility of the Continental Congress to remedy their differences and restore harmony. Governed by a President General appointed by the King, and Grand Council chosen by colonial assemblies, this legislature would be a minor branch of the British government. Americans would have a role in the passage of laws and taxes and each colony could keep its constitution and governing powers. Some delegates endorsed The Plan, but others thought it a threat to independence. The Plan of Union was defeated by a 13 – 0 vote and erased from congressional records.
Today’s Keyhole to History October 20, 1774 at the First Continental Congress President Peyton Randolph presided over 53 delegates to create the Articles of Association a precursor to the Declaration of Independence. Delegates representing all thirteen colonies, except for Georgia, referred to themselves as “America”, and expressed “his majesty’s subjects’ outrage over the Coercive Acts that threatened their lives, liberty, and property. Congress banned imports into British America from Great Britain or Ireland of all goods or merchandise including East India Company tea. The Articles directed colonists to not consume banned imports to avoid having their property seized or sold with proceeds going to those suffering from the Boston Port Bill. Delegates agreed in “association”, to follow the Articles’ rules.
Today’s Keyhole to History: November 17, 1774, the Philadelphia Light Horse mounted unit is established. Tradition holds that a meeting was held in Carpentar’s Hall three weeks after the First Continental Congress. Three members of the Philadelphia Committee of Safety and 25 other men agreed to form the Troop. They supported the Continental Congress and acted in defense of colonists against the British. Members volunteered to serve and purchased their own uniforms and equipment. Later renamed the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, they provided a military escort for General Washington from Philadelphia to New York while on his way to take command of the Continental Army at Boston. The Troop was called to active duty throughout the Revolutionary War including at Trenton, Brandywine, and Yorktown. Today, the Troop is the oldest military unit in continuous service to the United States and its members served in every conflict from the Revolution to Iraq.
Keyhole to History: November 21, 1774. That’s when a letter was sent by John Adams and John Sullivan on behalf of the people of upper Massachusetts to the people of Boston during their isolation after the Boston Port Bill had been put into effect. This is the way the letter read: “We take pleasure in transmitting to you a few cattle and a small sum of money which the persons of this place tenderly collected for our suffering brethren in Boston. This is considered by us not as a gift or act of charity, but of justice, as a small part of what we are duty bound to send to those who are bravely standing in the gap between us and slavery to the king. You are defending the common interests of a whole continent and gloriously struggling in the cause of liberty. Upon you the eyes of all America are fixed.”

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