British Supporters of the American Revolution, 1775-1783: by Sheldon S. Cohen

By Sheldon S. Cohen

America's announcement of Independence, whereas endeavouring to justify a holiday with nice Britain, at the same time proclaimed that the colonists had no longer been `wanting in recognition to our British brethren', yet they'd `been deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity'. This overstatement has on the grounds that been changed in complete histories of the yank Revolution. progressively a extra balanced portrait of British attitudes in the direction of the clash has emerged. particularly, experiences of pro-American Britons have exemplified this truth through focusing on just a small upper-class minority. BR> by contrast, this paintings specializes in 5 unrenowned males of Britain's `middling orders'. those members actively endeavoured to assist the yank reason. Their efforts, usually illegal, introduced them into touch with Benjamin Franklin, for whom they befriended insurgent seamen restrained in British gaols. Their tales - rendered right here - open up new parts for research of the yank conflict in this middling section of Britain's social constitution.

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Most of the members endorsed the American cause, and perhaps it was there that Hodgson acquired his strong affinity for the American colonists. It was clearly through these gatherings that the Coleman Street merchant formed an admiration for Franklin that was evident by the time the Pennsylvania agent sailed home in March 1775. 12 News of the outbreak of conflict in America during the spring of 1775 had considerable effect on Londoners – particularly merchants like Hodgson. Many of these men sympathized with their colonial brethren, and realized also that the hostilities would interrupt commerce with one of their prime markets.

Besides Digges and Matthew Ridley, the principal organizers of the event, Hodgson was one of the most prominent of the several merchants in attendance. 23 Digges was selected as the first director of this committee of concerned Londoners who subsequently engaged in diverse efforts to benefit the American prisoners in Britain. The mission to improve prison conditions received additional incentives after the American commissioners in Paris received a report from their emissary, John Thornton, who had been permitted to make a brief, supervised visit to Forton at the end of 1777.

30 Such often-repeated, illegal, and hazardous operations required more than the participation of Digges himself, but whether Hodgson was directly or indirectly 26 Cutter, Yankee Privateersman, 347; Cook, Long Fuse, 279–80, 310–11; Mackesy, War for America, 149–60; Hibbert, Redcoats and Rebels, 195–97. 27 Cohen, “Thomas Wren,” 288–89; Clark, “Thomas Digges,” 391, 400–02; Prelinger, “Franklin and the American Prisoners,” 270–71; Cohen, Yankee Sailors, 97, 115–16, 151–53, 192–95. 28 New Hampshire Gazette (Portsmouth), September 3, 1778; Cohen, “Preachers and Prisoners,” 7–9; Cohen, Yankee Sailors, 88, 115–18, 152–54, 186, 193.

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