Front Matter Our Country Long Ago The Barbarous Indians The Mounds Where the Northmen Went The Northmen in America Queer Ideas Prince Henry the Navigator Youth of Columbus Columbus and the Queen "Land! Land!" Columbus and the Savages Home Again Columbus Ill-treated Death of Columbus How America Got its Name The Fountain of Youth "The Father of Waters" The French in Canada French and Spanish Quarrels The Sky City Around the World Nothing but Smoke Smith's Adventures The Jamestown Men Smith Wounded Pocahontas Visits England Hudson and the Indians The Mayflower Plymouth Rock The First Thanksgiving Snake Skin and Bullets The Beginning of Boston Stories of Two Ministers Williams and the Indians The Quakers The King-Killers King Phillip's War The Beginning of New York Penn and the Indians The Catholics in Maryland The Old Dominion Bacon's Rebellion A Journey Inland The Carolina Pirates Charter Oak Salem Witches Down the Mississippi La Salle's Adventures Indians on the Warpath Two Wars with the French Washington's Boyhood Washington's Journey Washington's First Battle Stories of Franklin Braddock's Defeat Wolfe at Quebec England and her Colonies The Stamp Tax The Anger of the Colonies The Boston Tea Party The Minutemen The Battle of Lexington Bunker Hill The Boston Boys The British leave Boston Declaration of Independence A Lady's Way of Helping Christmas Eve The Fight at Bennington Burgoyne's Surrender Winter at Valley Forge The Quaker Woman Putnam's Adventures Indian Cruelty Boone in Kentucky Famous Sea Fights The "Swamp Fox" The Poor Soldiers The Spy A Traitor's Death Two Unselfish Women Surrender of Cornwallis British Flag hauled down Washington's Farewell

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

The Minutemen

Upon hearing the news of the Boston Tea Party Parliament made five harsh laws to punish the Bostonians. These were that no ships should be allowed to come in or go out of their port until they had paid for the tea; that the governor could send any one he pleased to England for trial; that the charter of Massachusetts was to be taken away that the colonists should receive and feed the troops; and that the province of Quebec should be extended to the Ohio, thus including the western lands claimed by Massachusetts.

The Bostonians said they could not, and would not, stand these five laws, which they called the "five intolerable acts." The other colonies declared that the Bostonians were right, and promised to help them resist; so it was decided that delegates from all the colonies should meet at Philadelphia, in 1774, to act together.

All the colonies except Georgia sent delegates to this First Continental Congress. They met in Carpenter's Hall, in Philadelphia, and decided to print and circulate papers explaining to the colonies, to the Canadians, and to the British people their causes of complaint. They also drew up a declaration of rights and an address to the king.

Samuel Adams, who is often called the "Father of the Revolution," wrote this petition to the king; and his young daughter, seeing the paper, cried: "Only think of it; that paper will soon be in the king's hand!" But her father dryly answered: "My dear, it will more likely be spurned by the royal foot!"

New England

There were many noted men among the fifty-five members of the First Continental Congress. Franklin had come home to take part in it, after having patiently tried to make peace with the Englishmen, who insulted him. While Congress was in session, some one asked Pat-rick Henry who was the leading man there, and he answered: "If you speak of eloquence, Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina is by far the greatest orator; but if you speak of solid information, Colonel Washington is unquestionably the greatest man on the floor!"

Before separating, this congress decided that another should assemble the next year to hear King George's answer to their petition, and to discuss what steps should next be taken. But although Congress was dismissed, the colonies, in spite of the bad postal arrangements of the age, kept up a lively correspondence.

Patrick Henry, on his return home, told the Virginia convention what had been done, and concluded an eloquent speech by saying: "We must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us." And in South Carolina the patriots loudly echoed the sentiments of their delegate, showing that "three million brave Americans, scattered over three thousand miles, had but one soul."

This was the opinion of patriots everywhere, and, feeling that they might soon be called upon to maintain their rights, they formed companies and drilled regularly. One of these bands of militia was formed in Virginia, where Washington said: "I shall very cheerfully accept the honor of, commanding it, if occasion requires it to be drawn out." In New England many similar regiments were drilled, and as these volunteer soldiers were to be ready to start at a moment's notice, they were known as "minutemen."

The women were quite as patriotic as the men. They gave up tea and all other imported goods, and began to spin and weave with such energy that they and their families soon wore nothing but homespun. Even at, a ball, in Virginia, the ladies wore rough cloth of their own manufacture, rather than purchase cloth, silk, and lace from England.

As Boston suffered most of all, the other colonies showed their sympathy by sending all the supplies they could by land. Indeed, neighboring places, such as Marblehead and Salem, even offered to let Boston merchants use their port free of charge.

Instead of answering the "olive branch "petition sent by the colonies, King George told General Gage, governor of Massachusetts, to bring the people to order as soon as possible. But Gage soon saw that the colonists were too angry to yield tamely, and all he dared do was to stop their meetings and to fortify Boston Neck.

Statue of Minuteman


But meetings were held in spite of him, for the principal Bostonians went to Cambridge, where they formed a Committee of Safety. This was to watch the movements of the British, collect arms and ammunition, and see that the minutemen were always ready for duty. For every one now felt that the fight must soon break out, although neither party wished to begin it.