News From Philadelphia January 4, 1777

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Source:  Dunlap and Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Saturday, January 04, 1777

The View From Philadelphia…

  • The American Crisis:  While praising the militia, Paine argues for a Continental Army established to wage a long campaign.  Paine observes that General Howe can not go everywhere, and if he takes Philadelphia, it will not end America’s hopes.  He promises forgiveness to American Tories if they don’t help Howe, but if they do, he believes expelling them and confiscating their property will help fund the army.  Paine rallies those who have stood the test so far, and encourages them to put a shoulder to the wheel and press on.  “Shew your faith by your works” and don’t lay it all on Providence.  Paine compares British armies to thieves who pillage and burn. The children of American men who don’t act will curse their fathers.   Paine laments the distracted minds of hopeful men who believe the British will show them mercy.  Under no circumstances, give up your arms to dishonest and cunning British officers.  If the back country gave up their arms, they would fall prey to the Indians, and Paine believes the Tories would be comforted by their destruction.  The situation of the American army is strong and there is no need for fear.
  • A run-away slave named Montrose or Matthews, 5’10” 25 years old.  $10 reward.
  • An advertisement for a new publication of Aesop’s (ESOP) fables, as well as military books, Robert Bell, bookseller
  • A reward for 11 deserters from the American Army, including names, height and age.  Note heights: (5’10”, 5’10”, 6’1″, 5’8″, 6’0″, 5’7″, 5’4″, 5’8″, 5’8″, 5’5″, 5’8″)  Average Height:  5’8.5″  All of the deserters were enlisted in Hartford county, Maryland.  Reward $10 for each man.
  • Valuable farm for sale 12 miles from Philadelphia.  Meadows, woodlands, wheat and rye crops, apple orchards.
  • Ads for American Crisis, Pocket Almanacs, (Father Abraham’s and Poor Will’s)
  • The Effingham: The 4th continental frigate is launched named after the English earl who refused to take up arms against America.  Two prizes brought in this week, including a sloop of ten guns, the other a brig mounting six carriage guns.  Quick: define the difference between a sloop and a brig.
  • Trenton Victory News: From a letter dated December 27, 1776.   Generals Washington, Sullivan and Green led 2500 men to Trenton on Christmas evening.  Arriving before dawn, and attacking from all sides, the Hessians, after engaging at first, were overcome and surrendered their arms.  The reporting officer here marched 750 prisoners to McConkey’s Ferry.  A list of officer ranks follows among the surrendered.  “..The wrretched condition of these unhappy men, most of who were dragged from their wives and families by a despotic and avaricious Prince, must sensibly affect every generous mind with the dreadful effects of arbitrary power..”  Colonel Rohl, the enemy commanding officer, died of wounds received on December 26 at Trenton.
  • Continental Dollars: Continental Congress urges Pennsylvania to punish anyone who refuses to take Continental dollars in payment.  The undermining of the currency is identified as a war tool of the enemy.  Upon first offense, a violator will be considered dangerous and be forced to forfeit the goods or services being sold, and surrender a five pound fine.  Anyone who informs on such a violator will get 1/3 of the forfeited goods and the state 2/3.
  • Pillaging armies: Pennsylvanians are warned about the sort of pillaging and destruction now taking place in New Jersey and warns that it may be coming to Pennsylvania.  Do not let the “love of ease” keep you from the field of battle if the enemy approaches.  Your daughters will be raped and wives taken by a “brutish soldiery.”  The phrase “bind us in all cases whatsoever” is used here, as it was in Paine’s American crisis.  Pennsylvanians are reminded of their early devotion to the cause.
  • Keep your bacon:  December 30, 1776:  The army will be short of bacon, salted beef, pork, soap, tallow and candles if exportation is not prohibited.  Ships are not to load anymore than is necessary to maintain their crews.
  • Commissions: Officers who have not received their commissions in the “new establishment” should apply to the council before January 10.
  • Housekeeper wanted: Needed: a middle-aged woman of good disposition, must understand country business well, care of a small family with “no children” (?), cooking in a “middling way.”  Salary:  20 pounds a year.
  • Father Abraham’s Almanac for 1777:  2nd ad, pitching the very trustworthy astronomical calculations of David Rittenhouse, A.M.

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This post was written by Jim Riley

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