Diary of Samuel Richards, Capt of Connecticut Line, War of Revolution, 1775-1781

Mar 18, 2013 by

diary richardsThe Diary of Samuel Richards, Capt of Connecticut Line, War of Revolution, 1775-1781 was originally published by his great grandson  in 1909 and the title of the book pretty much says it all. It is a great personal account of the American Revolution.

Here are a few paragraphs from the beginning to give you an idea of his style:

“In the year 1774 1 had arrived to the age of 21, and of course able — in some measure, to understand the accounts of passing events, and to witness their effects on the public mind. The shutting up of the port of Boston, after the destruction of the tea on board the ships : the arrival of an additional number of regular troops, with the accompanying circumstances, as narrated by the historians of the day, sufficiently opened the drama to the view of even common observers — of a set’led design of the british government to persevere in subjecting the colonies to a system of taxation, and an equall fixed design of resistance on the part of the colonies.

This system of taxing the colonies commenced in 1765 — only two years after the peace of Paris in 1763 — the reasons held up in the discussions in Parliament on the subject were principally that it was right that the colonies should help to reimburse the expense of the war which was carried on principally for their defence and protection. The colonists objected  — pleading their charter rights, and the common right of citizens and subjects that none are to be taxed without their own consent, and the colonists not being represented in Parliament, could have no voice in the case : The stamp act — of 1765 — repealed in 1768 — the succeeding duties on paper, paints etc. and the strong effort by the duty on tea in 1773 — were tests to try the right & the power of the mother country to tax the colonies; and the resistance of the colonies was in principle to oppose that right, as not existing.

After the destruction of the tea at Boston the British Parliament came to the strong resolution that they had a right to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever, this was the climax at which the subject had arisen — the British government persevering in these measures — and the colonies uniformly resisting. Those things are fully treated on in history, and only inserted to keep in mind the foundation of the war of independance and the seperation of the colonies from the mother country. The firing of the British soldiery on the unarmed citizens of Boston : the burning of the Gaspee schooner — a government vessell — in the harbor of Newport — the constant custom of the British of impressing our seamen wherever found on the high seas, all served to keep up and increase the acrimony between the mother country & the colonies. One of our whale vessels arriving into the harbor of Newport while the Gaspee schooner was lying there one of her officers came on board & declared his design of impressing one of the crew : the captain made a mark in some salt, and declared to the officer if he passed that he would harpoon him : the officer regardless of the threat advanced on which the Captain thrust the harpoon at him which caused his death. In the autumn of 1774 and during the succeeding winter, companies of minute men were formed in most of the towns and villages of New England, which were drilled and exercised with great attention.”

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