For God, king, and country: loyalism on the eastern shore of Maryland during the American Revolution.
Few events in American history have been studied as much as the War for Independence. Advocates of the Whig interpretation of the American Revolution argue that the colonists rose in a unified mass movement to throw off the yoke of British tyranny. (1) This, however, was not the case. The War for Independence was America's first civil war. Not only was there fighting between American colonists and British forces, there was also conflict between Patriots and those colonists who wished to remain under British rule. As John Adams observed, the American Revolution was fought by one-third of the population against another third to benefit the remaining third. (2)
With the exception of New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , (3) such divided loyalties are best illustrated in Maryland. During the war, the revolutionary government in Annapolis often faced political dissension and feared an armed rebellion by citizens who remained loyal to the British Crown. One of the most strife-torn areas in Maryland was its Eastern Shore, a large peninsula that lies between the Chesapeake Bay Chesapeake Bay, inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, c.200 mi (320 km) long, from 3 to 30 mi (4.8–48 km) wide, and 3,237 sq mi (8,384 sq km), separating the Delmarva Peninsula from mainland Maryland. and Virginia. and Atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean [Lat.,=of Atlas], second largest ocean (c.31,800,000 sq mi/82,362,000 sq km; c.36,000,000 sq mi/93,240,000 sq km with marginal seas). Physical Geography
Extent and Seas
. Approximately 180 miles long and 60 miles wide, it includes parts of Maryland, Virginia, and all of Delaware. The area is inundated with innumerable rivers, creeks, and inlets, making it a center for trade, ship building, and smuggling. Enjoying access to fertile land, Eastern Shore farmers had long repudiated tobacco farming in favor of producing grains, vegetables, fruits, and other cash crops. Consequently, the Eastern Shore, as local historian Charles Truitt describes it, became the "breadbasket of the Revolution." (4)
During the American Revolution, the Eastern Shore proved to be an area of great strategic and economic importance to the war effort. The Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean were of vital significance to the colonies, not only for trade, but also for communication and supply lines between Philadelphia and the Southern colonies. Maryland ship captains kept the colonies supplied with vital materials from Europe and the Caribbean, and privateers were recruited from the area to attack British commerce. These factors, coupled with the fact that Eastern Shore farmers supplied Washington's Continental Army with essential foodstuffs foodstuffs npl → comestibles mpl
foodstuffs npl → denrées fpl alimentaires
foodstuffs food npl → throughout the war, demonstrate the strategic and economic importance of the region to the Patriot cause. If the British or their Loyalist surrogates could have separated Maryland's Eastern Shore from the Patriot movement by cutting off the flow of supplies and restricting communications that crossed the region, they might have improved their chances of suppressing the rebellion.
To maintain its authority on the Eastern Shore, the extra-legal state government of Maryland The Government of Maryland is conducted according to the Maryland Constitution. The United States is a federation; consequently, the Government of Maryland, like the other 49 state governments, has exclusive authority over matters that lie entirely within the state's borders, adopted restrictive laws and quartered troops there to restrain Loyalist sentiment in the region. Despite these measures, the Annapolis government never exercised complete control over Eastern Shore Loyalists. Consequently, Eastern Shoremen hampered Maryland's war-making capabilities throughout the American Revolution. Nevertheless, constant harassment from the Annapolis government prevented these Loyalists from ever gaining military or political control over the Eastern Shore.
This paper examines the nature of loyalism on Maryland's Eastern Shore, identifying three distinct groups labeled as Loyalists, or the disaffected, by the revolutionary state government. First, there were the outspoken Loyalists, that is, those individuals or groups who actively opposed the state government. Second, there were the political opponents of the new state government who refused to accept the governmental institutions established during the 1775 State Constitutional Convention. Lastly, there were Eastern Shoremen who the state government characterized as Loyalists, in large part, because of their religious affiliations. This study focuses on the actions taken by the Annapolis government to subdue these various groups of disaffected people, and the reasons why the Loyalists failed to seriously challenge the authority of that government on the Eastern Shore.
Formation of Maryland's Extra-legal Government
As the first shots of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord Noun 1. Lexington and Concord - the first battle of the American Revolution (April 19, 1775)
American Revolution, American Revolutionary War, American War of Independence, War of American Independence - the revolution of the American in April 1775, Maryland moved forward as did other colonies in declaring its independence from Great Britain Great Britain, officially United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 60,441,000), 94,226 sq mi (244,044 sq km), on the British Isles, off W Europe. The country is often referred to simply as Britain. . When the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia one month later, Maryland representatives Charles Carroll Charles Carroll may refer to:
He was born in Abingdon, Maryland, descended from an Italian family and attended The College of Philadelphia (now merged , both of Anne Arundel County, Samuel Chase
Once independence had been declared in early July 1776, Maryland established a new state government. Its first order of business was the elimination of the proprietary charter. To be sure, by the 1770s the British government had assumed much of the actual power of the proprietary government, but the Calvert family still controlled vast amounts of land, capital, and patronage privileges in Maryland. More importantly, Maryland taxpayers were still assessed thousands of pounds sterling annually for the maintenance of the proprietary class. (6) In dealing with these issues, the State Constitutional Convention abolished the proprietary government and transferred its assets to the state treasury. (7)
The convention then moved quickly to frame a new constitutional state government in order to manage state affairs and the regional war effort. The same property qualifications that existed under the proprietary government would continue to apply to the election of officials who would serve in the new state government. All freemen over the age of twenty-one possessing a minimum of fifty acres of land or owning property worth at least 40 sterling [pounds sterling] could elect Delegates to represent them in Annapolis. (8)
Even though Maryland had established an "elected" representative government, it was never a legal government until independence had been secured on the battlefield and in the subsequent peace conference. Rather, it was an extra-legal government whose legitimacy rested on its ability to control the state's population, either by force or by persuading Maryland residents that it was the legal heir-apparent to the old governmental system. As long as state residents aligned themselves with the revolutionary government in Annapolis, it had credibility. If, however, a substantial number of citizens chose to remain loyal to the British Crown, the survival of the new government would remain in doubt. Thus, the legitimacy of the new state government became the focal point focal point
See focus. in the struggle between Patriots and Loyalists for control of Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Political Dissidents and Other Disaffected Peoples
During the war, the Annapolis government made no attempt to classify the various opposition groups within the state according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. their degree of loyalism. Any person who did not support the state government whole-heartedly was labeled a Tory. This blanket condemnation of all disaffected people as being "true Loyalists" was erroneous. The majority of Marylanders characterized as Tories were essentially opponents of the new state government for both political and social reasons. With regard to Eastern Shore residents, several factors explain their disaffection: localism lo·cal·ism
a. A local linguistic feature.
b. A local custom or peculiarity.
2. Devotion to local interests and customs. , disintegration of the prewar social structure, deprivations wrought by wartime food shortages, and the increased tax burden to prosecute the war effort.
Following the ratification of Maryland's new constitution in 1775, the state government immediately had to address the issues of voting rights and holding office. The use of prewar voting qualifications barred most Marylanders from the election rolls. For example, only 74 of Kent County's 3,500 free whites were eligible to vote for Delegates. (9) This produced an intolerable situation. The major pretense for the revolt against Great Britain had been that the British government had restricted the colonists' rights as Englishmen. The Patriots sought to rectify this by declaring independence and demanding the loyalty and martial support of their fellow citizens. Yet such restrictive voting requirements meant that only the wealthiest members of the gentry in Maryland could participate in the new government. According to the new state constitution, one had to possess 500 [pounds sterling] real property to serve as a Delegate; 1,500 [pounds sterling] to serve on the Council. (10) These requirements for holding office, coupled with state restrictions on voting rights, meant that no more than fifty-five percent of Maryland's free white population could vote or hold office. Consequently, only a handful of individuals held county seats. For example, in Queen Anne's County, between 1777 and 1787, only nineteen different individuals filled that county's forty-five elected seats. Of those individuals, James Kent James Kent (July 31, 1763 Doansburg, Putnam County, New York – December 12, 1847 New York City) was an American jurist and legal scholar. Life
He graduated from Yale College in 1781, having helped establish the Phi Beta Kappa society there in 1780, and began to , William Bruff, John Seney, Clement Sewell, and Edward Coursey each served in the state legislature A state legislature may refer to a legislative branch or body of a political subdivision in a federal system.
The following legislatures exist in the following political subdivisions:
To correct this situation, more moderate members of the Council, men such as Chase, Paca, and Rezin Hammond of Anne Arundel County, were able to reduce the property requirement for voting from 40 [pounds sterling] to 30 [pounds sterling]. But an attempt to further reduce that requirement to 5 [pounds sterling] was soundly defeated. (12) Apparently, the elite who now controlled Maryland had no intention of sharing their power with "social inferiors." That included officers and soldiers of the Maryland Line Maryland Line can refer to the following:
The gentry's efforts to restrict the franchise and limit office holding illustrates a phenomenon peculiar to the American Revolution. In contrast to Marx's dialectic, where the oppressed proletariat led the revolution, or the middle class in the French Revolution, the American Revolution was shaped primarily by the gentry. They had led the initial protests to break away from Great Britain. On the other hand, the "middle class" and the poor often opposed the belligerent policies of the revolutionary government, remaining either neutral or aligning themselves with Great Britain. In prewar Maryland, the gentry, true to English tradition, assumed political leadership in the colony. Their greater wealth and higher level of education made them ideal leaders. Lesser men could not afford to participate in government because property requirements and the lack of salary for such service discouraged them from doing so.
This situation was tolerated before the Revolution, but the social upheaval prevalent in any war rent asunder a·sun·der
1. Into separate parts or pieces: broken asunder.
2. Apart from each other either in position or in direction: The curtains had been drawn asunder. the status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. . While they were not threatened directly by the Revolution, the poorer classes may have been alarmed by the possibility that the political system that replaced the proprietary government might be more oppressive. Most small or middling farmers, who held their land as tenants of the Lord Proprietor, had the right to petition The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
Please [ improve this article] or discuss the issue on the talk page. for redress of grievances through the governor. This might not have afforded them much legal protection, but it was something they could depend on. Thus, as the power of the gentry increased after the overthrow of the colonial government, the poor became increasingly apprehensive about the prospect of facing a more difficult existence without the meager legal protections afforded by the proprietary government.
The eradication of the proprietary government and the ouster of Governor Robert Eden Sir Robert Eden, 1st Baronet (1741–1784) was the last Royal Governor of Maryland. He followed Horatio Sharpe as governor in 1769, and by 1775 his authority was totally usurped by the Annapolis Convention. He was created a baronet in 1776. swept away a system of checks and balances inherent in Maryland politics. Without the security provided by British rule through the proprietary government, the tenuous gentry common man arrangement broke down. The poorer classes saw the Revolution as a "rich man's war," and asked themselves why should they fight for the elite, or support the government when they had no stake in the conflict? They could neither vote nor participate in that government. Why, then, fight the British when Britain had at least provided them with a modicum of security? Such thoughts led many Marylanders to refuse to serve in the state militia, to scoff at paying their ever-increasing taxes or provide goods for the war effort. (14)
Even more dangerous than the refusal of some local residents to offer any assistance to the war effort were various attempts to overthrow gentry rule in Maryland. As early as May 1775, anti-gentry sentiment ran so high in Dorchester County Dorchester County is the name of several counties in the United States:
John Simmons is a former American football defensive back. , the leading conspirator conspirator n. a person or entity who enters into a plot with one or more other people or entities to commit illegal acts, legal acts with an illegal object, or using illegal methods, to the harm of others. , was arrested. At his trial, Simmons was implicated in this plot based on the testimony of one of his neighbors, James Mullineaux. Both men were members of the local militia. Mullineaux testified that when he asked Simmons whether he was going into Cambridge to muster, Simmons replied:
Yes, but not to muster for he had other business, ... [Mullineaux] understood that the gentlemen were intending to make us fight for their land and negroes, and then said damn them, if I had a few more white people to join me I could get all the negroes in the country to back us, and they would do more good in the night than white people could do in the day. (15)
According to Millineaux, Simmons also stated: "If all the gentlemen were killed we should have the best of the land to tend and besides could get money enough while we were about it as they have all the money in their hands." (16)
Though this insurrection never materialized, and Simmons received only a light punishment for his threat, this episode demonstrates the general disdain that the poorer classes held for the elite. The connotation in each of Simmons' statements is quite clear. Like many poor whites, he believed that the war was undertaken to benefit the rich. If the rich were opposed, they would be forced to surrender vast amounts of land as well as hoarded specie SPECIE. Metallic money issued by public authority.
2. This term is used in contradistinction to paper money, which in some countries is emitted by the government, and is a mere engagement which represents specie. and other necessities of life. In expressing such thoughts, Simmons spoke for many Eastern Shoremen angered by wartime shortages and the inclination of the gentry to stockpile much needed goods.
One of the most important commodities in the colonial period Colonial Period may generally refer to any period in a country's history when it was subject to administration by a colonial power.
The inability of the poorer classes to obtain salt from the state government or buy it from local planters led to a series of 'salt riots' during the fall of 1776 in Dorchester and Talbot counties. Residents in both counties were in desperate need of salt. The Committee of Observation in Dorchester County reported that "the want for the absolute necessities of life is so great that many families for months past have not had a spoonful of salt." (18) The fall season was the traditional time of the year for the slaughter of livestock. As their winter meat supply became rancid ran·cid
Having the disagreeable odor or taste of decomposing oils or fats.
having a musty, rank taste or smell; applied to fats that have undergone decomposition, with the liberation of fatty acids. , local residents resorted to force to acquire what they needed. The first victim was Robert Wilson Robert Wilson may refer to:
One of those "disorders" that the Committee of Observation in Dorchester County alluded to involved a raid on the estate of James Chamberlaine. Almost two months after Andrew's raid, a group of seventeen men gathered in neighboring Caroline County Caroline County is the name of two counties in the United States:
Shortly thereafter, Chamberlaine and members of the local militia captured Colston and some of his followers. As they were taken before the local magistrate, Chamberlaine was physically assaulted by John Gibson John Gibson is a common name, shared by:
I need not remind you of these distressing times, ... no violence has occurred and [I] Hope that you'll not think them men of seditious principles who might be desirous of stirring up party factions. They are not such. I know several of the leading men to be men of reputation ... [and] good moral character as most men in the county. They have been sincere in their country's cause and have acted like men of spirit and principle .... which is more than can be said with truth of any engrosser of salt here [i.e., Chamberlaine]. (21)
When the committee ordered Colston to apologize to Chamberlaine, he did so rather grudgingly. He maintained that despite the appearance of "Rapin and Violence," his actions were borne out of necessity. (22)
The salt riots reveal an interesting aspect of the political situation on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The men whose property had been violated were individuals of real substance. The Maryland Tax Assessment List of 1782 shows that Murray and Chamberlaine each had annual incomes of about 3,000 [pounds sterling]. Chamberlaine also owned more than 4,000 acres of land in Talbot and Caroline counties. (23) In contrast, only half of the salt rioters possessed any land, and only one in five owned slaves. The exceptions were Andrew and Colston. Both men were propertied prop·er·tied
Owning land or securities as a principal source of revenue.
Adj. 1. propertied - owning land or securities as a principal source of revenue
property-owning , especially Colston, who owned fourteen slaves and nearly 400 acres of land worth 936 [pounds sterling]. (24) Thus, the leaders of the uprising of the poor were men of property. This, combined with Gibson's defense of his act of civil disobedience civil disobedience, refusal to obey a law or follow a policy believed to be unjust. Practitioners of civil disobediance basing their actions on moral right and usually employ the nonviolent technique of passive resistance in order to bring wider attention to the , shows the developing rift between various elements of the gentry in Maryland during the American Revolution.
At the outbreak of the war, many members of the gentry stood at the forefront of the revolutionary movement. But some of their ardor ar·dor
1. Fiery intensity of feeling. See Synonyms at passion.
2. Strong enthusiasm or devotion; zeal: "The dazzling conquest of Mexico gave a new impulse to the ardor of discovery" soon cooled when it appeared that the movement sought independence too quickly. They feared that the status quo would be undermined. Henry Hollyday, one of Talbot County's leading citizens, expressed concern that some of the more easily persuaded members of his class would fall under the influence of those "warm gentlemen ... disposed to dragoon people into their hot measures." (25) For Hollyday, the cause of Boston was not necessarily the cause of Maryland. Such distrust of the aims of the state and national governments led many local residents to either remain neutral or actively resist measures to prosecute the war.
The lesser among the gentry believed that the more powerful members of their class would ultimately gain the most from the Revolution. (26) This was especially true on the Eastern Shore, in large part, due to localism. Eastern Shore residents have always been viewed as a breed apart. They have maintained their individualism, independence, and unique character up to the present day. They have rejected outside influences and tend to remain neutral or violently oppose authority. Such localism manifests itself through a distrust of outsiders, particularly toward Marylanders from across the Chesapeake Bay. Their distrust of what they perceived as the self-serving interests of the Annapolis government led Eastern Shore residents, gentry and common folk alike, to view the new state government with deep suspicion.
Dissidents on the Eastern Shore who were true Loyalists in the sense that they subscribed to the policies of the British Crown had a detrimental impact on the conduct of the war in Maryland. Civil disobedience causes a government to divert its attention from other pressing matters, thus weakening its ability to rule effectively. This is particularly true of a government seen as lacking in legitimacy. The extra-legal government in Annapolis could only exercise authority if Marylanders pledged their allegiance to it and accepted its actions as emanating from a legitimate authority. This was not the case; the Annapolis government was not recognized as a legal political organization until the war ended. Its fragile control over some regions of the Eastern Shore forced Committees of Observation and Safety to be conciliatory con·cil·i·ate
v. con·cil·i·at·ed, con·cil·i·at·ing, con·cil·i·ates
1. To overcome the distrust or animosity of; appease.
2. and moderate in their treatment of dissidents. This explains the light punishments meted out Adj. 1. meted out - given out in portions
apportioned, dealt out, doled out, parceled out
distributed - spread out or scattered about or divided up to Simmons, Andrew, and Colston. Nevertheless, as will be shown,
the state government exercised enough authority to prevent British control of the Eastern Shore. Consequently, dissension on the Eastern Shore would prove to be more of a nuisance than a real danger to the Patriot cause in Maryland.
Religious and Pacifist Groups as Loyalists
Though not as numerous as political and social opponents of the revolutionary government, there were certain religious groups in Maryland whose teachings challenged the authority of the new state government. While the pressures of war produced civil unrest, the existence and growth of certain religious dogmas based on support of the British Crown and pacifism pacifism, advocacy of opposition to war through individual or collective action against militarism. Although complete, enduring peace is the goal of all pacifism, the methods of achieving it differ. intensified the clash between Patriots and Loyalists on the Eastern Shore.
It has always been infinitely easier for a revolutionary group to change the existing political system than to legislate the religious beliefs of the people. Attempts to interfere with freedom of worship leads to a retrenchment re·trench·ment
The cutting away of superfluous tissue. in beliefs of the group under attack. This situation was made more critical by the fact that the Church of England Church of England: see England, Church of. , the established church es·tab·lished church
A church that a government officially recognizes as a national institution and to which it accords support.
Noun in Maryland, was steeped in rampant loyalism. For two centuries, ministers of the church had been colonial officials, receiving their commission from the proprietor and their pay from the colonial legislature. They were required to take an oath of allegiance to the British monarch, who, since the Reformation, served as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. There was no separation of church and state
From the outbreak of hostilities, members of the Anglican Church were divided over whether they should support the Revolution. Many were involved in the revolutionary movement; others supported the Loyalist opposition. This placed many church members in a predicament. If they supported the Patriot cause, they stood in direct opposition to the teachings of their faith. If they did not take the loyalty oaths or participate in the military efforts of the state, they were deemed traitors. (28)
This dilemma was further complicated by the position of the Anglican clergy in Maryland. An article of their faith was an oath of loyalty to the British Crown, taken during ordination vows. As a consequence, they were bound to oppose the Patriot cause, and to preach against the Revolution. To violate this oath and actively support the rebels would result in excommunication excommunication, formal expulsion from a religious body, the most grave of all ecclesiastical censures. Where religious and social communities are nearly identical it is attended by social ostracism, as in the case of Baruch Spinoza, excommunicated by the Jews. and ensure that their source of revenue would be cut off. To avoid such a fate, many Anglican clergymen left the colony. Of the thirty priests on the Eastern Shore in 1776, only fifteen remained in 1780. Of those fifteen, most were of inferior quality, either suffering from some form of senility senility (sənil`ətē), deterioration of body and mind associated with old age. Indications of old age vary in the time of their appearance. or being notorious drunkards. By 1784, the situation reached its nadir when an Anglican layman lamented that "there were but two Anglican clergymen on the whole Peninsula, and one of these is a drunkard One who habitually engages in the overindulgence of alcohol.
In order for an individual to be labeled a drunkard, drunkenness must be habitual or must recur on a constant basis. ." (29) The situation was probably not that bad, but the exodus of Anglican priests meant that those who chose to remain in the region were unabashed in their enmity towards the new state government.
The most virulent and outspoken Loyalist clergyman on the Eastern Shore was Father John Bowie John Bowie (born May 11, 1984 in Columbus, Ohio) is an American football cornerback for the Oakland Raiders. He played college football for the Cincinnati Bearcats and high school football at Northland High School. Timed at 4.36 in the 40 yard dash. , rector of St. Martin's St. Martin's or St. Martins may refer to:
hold close, hold tight, clutch
hold, take hold - have or hold in one's hands or grip; "Hold this bowl for a moment, please"; "A crazy idea took hold of the roof of this mouth and never come loose." (30) So virulent was his preaching against the Patriot cause that in 1777 he was arrested and held captive in Annapolis. Upon returning to the Eastern Shore, Bowie continued his anti-Patriot crusade in Oxford and St. Michaels. (31)
Other Eastern Shore clergymen mimicked Bowie's loyalist tendencies. John Scott There are many people who have been called John Scott: Politicians
The actions of Bowie, Scott, and other recalcitrant Anglican clergymen, such as William Wye and William Edmission of Cecil County, (33) placed the church in a perilous position. If it continued on its present course, its membership, already decimated, would further decline. It also faced the danger of being abolished by the state government, which had already disestablished the church in 1777. (34) To avoid this fate, the leadership of the Anglican Church pursued a more compliant course. With the exodus of the majority of parish priests, the church was forced to find new leaders. William White William White may refer to: Politics
, stepped forward to fill this need. Aware that the survival of the Anglican Church depended on its cooperation with the new state government, they ordered local parish priests to desist from attacking Patriots. They also cut their ties with Great Britain by supporting the Vestry Act, which transferred the ownership of the individual parish from the Church Universal to the parishioners. (35) This allowed White and Seabury to consolidate their power in Maryland, and bought the church time to replenish its membership. Its support for the Act Concerning the Freedom of Religion freed the church from further government interference as long as clergymen focused solely on theological matters. Both laws ushered in a new policy towards religion in Maryland; that is, the state government tolerated passive resistance towards the Revolution, as well as non-compliance towards certain laws and demands for military service, as long as religious groups did not participate directly in anti-revolutionary activities. (36)
Under the protection of these new laws New Laws: see Las Casas, Bartolomé de. , the Anglican Church staged a dramatic comeback in the latter war years, especially on the lower Eastern Shore, where the Presbyterian Church had become its strongest rival. In Worcester and Somerset counties, the introduction of Presbyterianism by Francis Makemie in 1683, and the immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. of countless Scot-Irish to the area produced a fierce struggle between Anglicans and Presbyterians for economic and political control of the region. (37) Presbyterians generally backed the Revolution; Anglicans, for the most part, supported the British Crown. To prevent the more populous Presbyterians (many of them being members of the ruling elite) from effecting total control over the Eastern Shore following the ouster of the colonial government, Anglicans took up arms to protect their position. This test of strength between these rival religious groups contributed to much of the Loyalist activity in Somerset and Worcester counties early in the war.
While the Annapolis government had problems with the Anglican Church, it also had to contend with other religious sects whose beliefs placed them in direct opposition to the interests of the state. The largest and most problematic of these groups were the Methodists. The Methodists were not a separate religious sect; they were a faction within the Anglican Church. The founders of the Methodist movement, George Whitefield and John Wesley, had grown tired of the traditions and relative coldness of the Anglican service. They complained that the dogma of the church was based more on the practice of ritual than the message of Christ. (38) Wesley, who emerged as the chief apostle of the sect, found the worldliness of the church unacceptable. He urged his supporters to reject drinking and other worldly delights and to place their faith in the Bible and Christ's teachings, not the ritual mass of the Anglican Church. (39)
As the Methodist movement gained a considerable following in England, it was only a matter of time before it made its way across the Atlantic. George Whitefield brought its message to the Delmarva Peninsula in 1739. By the Revolutionary era, there were substantial numbers of Anglicans in the region who professed themselves to be Methodists. Francis Asbury, the man most responsible for the founding and growth of the Methodist Church in the region, estimates that there were 19 itinerant ministers and 3,158 devotees on the Eastern Shore in 1775. (40) With the departure of the majority of ordained Anglican priests, Asbury and other itinerant ministers found a vast pool of Anglicans who they could convert to the Methodist fold. Ministers selected by Wesley and Asbury traveled throughout the Eastern Shore exhorting people to join the faith.
As a competing religious movement within the Anglican Church, Methodism endured much criticism from the church hierarchy due to its rejection of traditional Anglican values. Religious beliefs were not the only reason for the authorities' antagonism towards the Methodists, however. Part of the social dogma of Methodism included its view that slavery was immoral. This belief led many to view Methodists as enemies of the state. Slavery was an integral part of the economic and social structure of the Eastern Shore. If Methodists were allowed to undermine its existence, this would jeopardize the favored position of the planter aristocracy. (41) This concern helps to explain the repressive measures taken against Methodists during the early stages of the American Revolution.
Methodist opposition to slavery highlights one of its strongest fundamental positions, one that accounted for much of its phenomenal growth during the war. One of the cornerstones of Wesley's teachings was an egalitarian approach to the social structure of the state. The Methodists preached that all men are equal in the eyes of God. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , all men were equal under the law. (42) The thought that the lowest member of society was equal to the richest planter raised the hackles hackles
the hairs over the neck and back that are elevated by arrector pili muscles in response to fright or anger. A mechanism to threaten opponents, perhaps by appearing larger. of the aristocracy. The elite feared that if Methodism went unchecked, the poorer elements of society would clamor for increased power, which, in turn, would undermine the social structure. Such fears seemed justified since this concept had special appeal to poor whites who were already disillusioned with the deprivations of the war and the lack of political power granted to them during the 1775 State Constitutional Convention.
Itinerant preachers were primarily responsible for spreading Methodism on the Eastern Shore. The most famous of these ministers was Freeborn Garrettson. Born into a slaveholding slave·hold·er
One who owns or holds slaves.
slaveholding adj. family in Hartford County, Maryland in 1752, Garrettson became a latter-day St. Paul after seeing a vision that inspired him to spread the Methodist faith. (43) During the American Revolution, Garrettson traveled throughout the Eastern Shore, spreading the message of Christ to anyone who would listen. He spoke in every known Methodist society in Delaware and Maryland, often putting his own life at risk. He was arrested in Queen Anne's County, jailed in Talbot County, and accosted ac·cost
tr.v. ac·cost·ed, ac·cost·ing, ac·costs
1. To approach and speak to boldly or aggressively, as with a demand or request.
2. To solicit for sex. by revolutionaries in Somerset County. Undaunted, he traveled from one hot spot to another, preaching a gospel of faith, pacifism, and equality of all men. (44)
On at least two occasions Garrettson's religious beliefs nearly cost him his life. On June 24, 1778, in Chestertown, Maryland, Garrettson was accosted by a band of opponents led by Judge John Brown. The mob beat Garrettson with sticks and would have hanged him had not an elderly lady interceded on his behalf. When Judge Brown later tried to arrest the minister, Garrettson lectured him on his imminent damnation and persuaded Brown to read the scriptures. Convinced that Garrettson was a man of God, Brown freed him. (45) Three months later, in September 1778, a mob in Dover, Delaware, tried to lynch Garrettson. This time he was rescued by a local merchant who hid him in his shop. (46)
Following a series of revivals in Delaware and Maryland, Garrettson traveled to North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. to preach the word of God. There, he had his first experience preaching to blacks. He was moved by the suffering of slaves, stating, "many times did my heart ache on account of slaves in this part of the country.... I endeavored to inculcate in·cul·cate
tr.v. in·cul·cat·ed, in·cul·cat·ing, in·cul·cates
1. To impress (something) upon the mind of another by frequent instruction or repetition; instill: inculcating sound principles. the doctrine of freedom [in] a private way, [but] this procured me the ill will of some who were in that unmerciful practice." (47) He preached to slaves until this practice placed his life in danger. He prudently returned to Maryland and again ran afoul of Patriots. His life was threatened on four more occasions, including once in Salisbury where a man tried to shoot him as he preached. When his gun misfired, Garrettson took this as a sign of providence. He refused to vacate To annul, set aside, or render void; to surrender possession or occupancy.
The term vacate has two common usages in the law. With respect to real property, to vacate the premises means to give up possession of the property and leave the area totally devoid of contents. the area, establishing a Methodist circuit in Quantico. (48)
The activities of Methodist preachers, coupled with the potential for civil unrest inherent in their teachings, led the state government to adopt measures to silence them. Many itinerant preachers were driven off the Eastern Shore or arrested on the charge of refusing to take the loyalty oath. The Maryland Loyalty Oath not only required a declaration of allegiance to the state; anyone who subscribed to it also pledged themselves to defend the state by arms if necessary. (49) This violated the pacifist teachings of Methodism. In opposing the oath, Garrettson argued that the taking of an oath violated the teachings of God, especially if it required the bearing of arms. The oath, he declared:
... is too binding on my conscience, .... I want in all things to keep a a conscience void of offense, to walk in the safest way, and to do all the good I can in bringing sinners to God. (50)
Garrettson, like many other Methodists, took the Delaware oath, which was less restrictive and contained no clause requiring the taking up of arms. This, however, did not save Garrettson from further harassment. On March 9, 1780, he was jailed for his refusal to take the loyalty oath under the auspices of the Act for the Better Security of the State. He was ordered to post a 20,000 [pounds sterling] bond, but being insolvent, Garrettson was jailed for twenty days in Dorchester County. (51) Thomas Hill Airey, a prominent Dorchester County resident, petitioned Governor Thomas Johnson to release Garrettson, who, despite his opposition to the oath, was a "true friend of this country." The governor freed Garrettson, who resumed his preaching without any interference from the state. (52) By then, the threat of a British invasion of Maryland had passed; the Methodists were no longer considered a threat to the state.
It is interesting to note that the restrictions placed on religion in Maryland were always tougher on the Eastern Shore, presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. because of its distance from Annapolis. If the state government had pursued a more conciliatory policy towards religion, it may have affected a much greater measure of control over the area. In all likelihood, religious opposition would have abated once it became evident that the state had no intention of restricting religion. By bowing to the demands of anti-Methodists who opposed that religion's anti-slavery message, the state government unnecessarily complicated the situation on the Eastern Shore.
Of all the Loyalist tendencies, religion should have been the easiest to overcome. Instead, religious Loyalists became a significant problem for the Annapolis government, not so much because they were virulent opponents of the Revolution, but because of the policies the state instituted against them. The various measures employed to subdue the Anglican Church and the embryonic Methodist movement contributed to the growth of both groups. (53) To be sure, the state government eased its restrictions on religion during the latter stages of the war, but its early paranoia toward any group that opposed the Patriot cause led to a besmirching of the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.
Loyalist Activity on the Eastern Shore
There were certain groups on the Eastern Shore that rejected the necessity of the American Revolution to settle differences between the colonies and the British Crown. They chose to remain loyal to the Crown out of true affection for King George III, their political and religious beliefs, opposition to the elite groups in power, and, in some instances, anti-social tendencies which caused them to oppose any hint of change. Eastern Shoremen who actively sought to overthrow the state government were few in number, but even their small number, a few thousand perhaps, concentrated in certain parts of the region, represented the most serious threat to state authority in Maryland during the American Revolution.
As the American Revolution swept away the old proprietary government, a large group of potential opponents to the new system emerged. The old proprietary groups who lost their source of income and political power might have served as the vanguard of Toryism, but instead they cooperated with the Annapolis government. They did so because their close proximity to the seat of power made it easier for the state government to keep them in line. More importantly, the old proprietary group and the elite shared similar political views. By allying themselves with the elite, members of the proprietary class ensured their future after the war. This explains the lack of direct opposition of this group to the Patriot cause on the Western Shore. With the exception of Robert Alexander (an Eastern Shoreman), most of the Loyalist leadership and activity in the state was centered across the Chesapeake Bay. The natural antipathy between the Shores and the diversity of religious and political beliefs made it easier to formulate opposition toward the new state government on the Eastern Shore.
From the outbreak of the war, Loyalist activity flourished on the Eastern Shore. As soon as the Declaration of Independence had been issued, groups loyal to the British Crown tried to suppress Patriot activity in the region. In Caroline County, for example, John Williams and John Cooper mustered troops to oppose recruitment efforts on behalf of the Continental Army. Both efforts failed; Cooper sought amnesty, and Williams was arrested, only to be freed on his word of honor that he would obey the law. (54) In Worcester County, William Barkley Townshend, one of the wealthiest landowners in the area, petitioned Virginia Governor John Dunmore for troops to defeat the revolutionary movement on the Eastern Shore. While awaiting Dunmore's response, Townshend stockpiled muskets and ammunition on his estate, and gathered what forces he could. When the Committee of Safety dispatched the local militia to confiscate To expropriate private property for public use without compensating the owner under the authority of the Police Power of the government. To seize property.
When property is confiscated it is transferred from private to public use, usually for reasons such as Townshend's property, including his arms and munitions mu·ni·tion
War materiel, especially weapons and ammunition. Often used in the plural.
tr.v. mu·ni·tioned, mu·ni·tion·ing, mu·ni·tions
To supply with munitions. , he fled to Virginia. The state government indicted him in absentia in absentia (in ab-sensh-ee-ah) adj. or adv. phrase. Latin for "in absence," or more fully, in one's absence. Occasionally a criminal trial is conducted without the defendant being present when he/she walks out or escapes after the trial has begun, since the accused , confiscating his property until he renounced Loyalism. Upon his return to Maryland, Townshend received only a mild fine and a reprimand REPRIMAND, punishment. The censure which in some cases a public office pronounces against an offender.
2. This species of punishment is used by legislative bodies to punish their members or others who have been guilty of some impropriety of conduct towards them. for his Loyalist activities. (55)
If state authorities expected to suppress loyalism they could not do so through light punishments meted out to these early offenders; they needed to enforce stronger penalties. On July 4, 1776, the state government enacted the Treason Act, which threatened to impose a punishment of death PUNISHMENT OF DEATH. The deliberate killing, according to the forms of law,, of a person who has been lawfully convicted of certain crimes. See Capital crimes. against anyone providing aid and comfort to Maryland's enemies. (56) The state government, however, rarely assigned this fate to traitors. Perhaps this was out of compassion for those 'misguided souls' who supported the king, but more than likely this represented some recognition of the state government's weak position. As a rebel body, the Annapolis government had no legal standing as a governing body under international law. To impose the death penalty against Loyalists would invite similar treatment of Patriots by the British if they invaded Maryland. Hanging was an acceptable legal punishment for rebels, and to paraphrase Ben Franklin, the revolutionary government could have been "hung together." One should also bear in mind that early opponents of the Revolution, such as Townshend, Williams, and Cooper, were from the same social class as the governing elite. It would have been bad form to hang a peer. This, to some extent, explains the light punishments handed out to these Loyalists.
Despite the adoption of the Treason Act, Loyalist activity on the Eastern Shore continued unabated, reaching a crisis point in 1777. As the wartime fortunes of the Continental Army hit one of its low points, Maryland Tories, aided by British military activity in the area, stepped up their attacks against the state government. British naval units occupied Smith Island, Tilghman Island, and Hooper's Island, effectively cutting off the Patriots from the Chesapeake Bay. From these islands, the British and their Loyalist allies burned estates and confiscated rebel property. (57)
The most famous of the Loyalist sea captains ('pirates' in the eyes of the state government) was Joseph Whaland. Whaland and his men based themselves on Tangier Island, Virginia, and for seven years they sailed the narrow waters between Hooper's Straits and Dorchester County, Maryland Dorchester County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland on its Eastern Shore. It is bordered by the Choptank River to the northeast, Talbot County to the northwest, Caroline County to the northeast, Wicomico County to the southeast, Sussex County, Delaware to the east, , disrupting local commerce. Whaland seized barges, destroyed their contents, and used them for scrap. (58) He was arrested often for his actions, but received only minor punishment, after which he would return to his old ways. For example, after one arrest in 1780 Whaland convinced George Dashiell that he would change his ways. As Colonel Dashiell ordered the release of the pirate, a messenger arrived carrying a deposition from Valentine Peyton, alleging that Whaland had seized his boat and burned his cargo. (59) Whaland was incarcerated in Baltimore but he was soon released and resumed his attacks against Patriot commerce in the Cheasapeake Bay. Avoiding apprehension by a frustrated Dashiell, Whaland never suffered any punishment for this new wave of violence against Patriot commerce, which continued through the end of the war. (60)
As Loyalists challenged the state government for control of the Chesapeake Bay, they also tried to undermine the revolutionary movement on the Eastern Shore. The state's hold on the region was tenuous at best. Loyalist activity was held in check only by the efforts of the local Committees of Safety and the presence of militias. If Loyalists could have overcome these local militia units, they might have effectively destroyed state authority on the Eastern Shore.
Loyalists in Somerset County tried to do just that. In late 1777, Isaac Atkinson, a Somerset planter, was indicted for attempting to raise a company of Loyalists to challenge state authority. During a muster of local troops. Atkinson convinced many of the men that they were fighting for the wrong side. When the men lined up, "part of the Company drew up apart, under the said Atkinson, as their captain, wearing red cockades instead of black, which they had formerly worn." Atkinson then told the remaining troops that he intended, "... to oppose the Congress and Convention, for that he did not like any of the proceedings, or anything they had done." (61)
When Atkinson was arraigned at the Somerset County Courthouse Somerset County Courthouse can refer to:
Loyalist agitation on the Eastern Shore increased in late 1777 and early 1778. Tories in Somerset and Worcester counties organized a force of over 300 men, led by a well-organized cadre of officers, to oppose the state government. More importantly, they enjoyed a large measure of popular support. It is little wonder that fresh reports of Tory deprivations arrived daily in Annapolis. In one instance, Samuel Chase informed the state government that:
Tories have been gathering in Sussex, Worcester and Somerset counties for several days. They have 250 men collected at Parker's Mill about nine miles from Salisbury, and [it is] reported [that] they have three field pieces which they received from the Roebuck [a British warship] ... with the intention to sei[z]e the Magazine and destroy the property of the Whigs. (64)
The Loyalists destroyed the magazine, thus preventing the local militia from exercising control over that part of Somerset County. The state government ordered Colonel Henry Hooper to take command of a militia regiment and suppress the disaffected in and around Salisbury. To support Hooper, the brigs Enterprise, Defense, and Dolphin, which comprised the entire Maryland State Navy, were dispatched to the area. (65)
As Hooper proceeded to the Eastern Shore, additional Tory activity led the state government to petition Congress to send Continental Army troops to suppress the revolt. In response, Congress, on February 1, 1778, directed the Maryland General Assembly The Maryland General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Maryland. It is a bicameral body. The upper chamber, the Maryland State Senate, has 47 representatives and the lower chamber, the Maryland House of Delegates, has 141 representatives. to "raise a sufficient number of men and artillery to suppress Tory activity and then assemble the inhabitants of both counties to take an oath of allegiance to the state and disarm anyone who refused to obey the order." (66) It also instructed General William Smallwood to lead a regiment of Virginia infantry to aid Hooper. The deployment of troops from another state demonstrated a lack of trust in using local militias to suppress Toryism. And with good reason: desertion was rampant, local units often refused to leave their own counties to serve, and those that did often looted the surrounding countryside. (67)
Smallwood's force arrived in Salisbury on February 19 and established a defense line running from Salisbury to Princess Anne and Snow Hill. After reading a proclamation condemning Loyalists in Somerset and Worcester counties for their "traitorous" activities, the general ordered all civilians to retire to specified locations, to surrender their firearms and contraband, and to take an oath of allegiance to the state. Upon strict compliance with this edict A decree or law of major import promulgated by a king, queen, or other sovereign of a government.
An edict can be distinguished from a public proclamation in that an edict puts a new statute into effect whereas a public proclamation is no more than a declaration of a law , a general pardon would be issued to all Loyalists, except the ringleaders of the insurgency, who were identified as Angelo Atkinson, Josephus Beall, Rev. John Bowie, Hamilton Callallo, Dr. Andrew Francis Cheney, Jesse Gray, Dr. John Odell Hart, Levi Lankford, Staughton Maddox, Thomas Malcolm, Thomas Pollet, Jr., Thomas Moore, William Pollet, and Whittington Turpin. All of these men were arrested and imprisoned, except for Callallo and Moore, who escaped to the protection of the British fleet. (68)
Smallwood's actions checked Loyalist activity on the lower Eastern Shore temporarily. After the departure of the Continental Regulars, Colonels Joseph and George Dashiell of Somerset and Worcester counties continued to hunt for recalcitrant Tories. But the unreliability of the militia and the large numbers of Loyalists in the region prevented the Dashiells from exercising effective control over the area. Ordinances issued by the state government could not be enforced, especially if the edict required the appropriation of war materiel ma·te·ri·el or ma·té·ri·el
The equipment, apparatus, and supplies of a military force or other organization. See Synonyms at equipment. . Following one effort to collect shoes for the Continental Army, Colonel Joseph Dashiell bemoaned the total disregard toward the wishes of the state by a number of area residents:
I should have got a much larger quantity of shoes in the disaffected shoemakers would have made them up. But as soon as they heard the shoes were wanted for the [Continental] Army they raised the price from five to fifteen shillings. (69)
Perhaps more insulting than refusing to fulfill the state government's request for war materiel, Eastern Shore Loyalists enjoyed a thriving trade with the British Navy, which landed on the coast with impunity. (70)
A slight lull in Tory activity on the Eastern Shore ended abruptly with the British invasion of Pennsylvania. In 1778, British General Sir William Howe landed his army of 20,000 men at Head of Elk in Cecil County and then occupied Philadelphia. The general issued a proclamation to the people of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland The Eastern Shore of Maryland is composed of the state's nine counties east of the Chesapeake Bay. The counties are Caroline County, Cecil County, Dorchester County, Kent County, Queen Anne's County, Somerset County, Talbot County, Wicomico County, Worcester County. , in which he tried to allay their fears regarding the consequences of British occupation of the area. He announced that King George III would pardon "officers and private men in arms against His Majesty ... [who were] willing to relinquish the part they have taken in the Rebellion." (71) Howe's proclamation may not have lured many Patriots into the fold, but it reignited Loyalist activity on the Eastern Shore. They supplied food to British troops and acted as scouts while the Redcoats marched towards Philadelphia. More importantly, during this time the British considered the possibility of forming a Tory regiment to fight alongside the British Army. David Heath, a local Loyalist, offered to raise a regiment of 500 men to combat the local militia if it tried to interfere with Howe's advance. Howe considered the offer, but rejected it. Hoping to limit the bloodshed in taking Philadelphia, Howe had no intention of arming Americans to fight one another. (72)
Meanwhile, Tories in both Worcester and Somerset counties renewed their efforts to undermine the Annapolis government. They harassed state recruiters and tax assessors, and tried to coordinate an uprising with the support of British troops. Fortunately for the Patriots, the plot collapsed because British troops never rendezvoused with the Loyalists. (73)
To get a better sense of what was happening on the Eastern Shore, the state government dispatched Martin Luther, then a young attorney, to assess the situation. His report could not have pleased the Delegates: "... the disaffected inhabitants of [Somerset] County ... have arrived to so daring a height of insolence in·so·lence
1. The quality or condition of being insolent.
2. An instance of insolent behavior, treatment, or speech.
Noun 1. and Villainy Villainy
See also Evil, Wickedness.
Vindictiveness (See VENGEANCE.)
Violence (See BRUTALITY, CRUELTY.)
portrait of devilish Spanish servant and kidnapper. [Br. Lit. that there appears but very little Security for [the] lives or property of any person who from political or other reasons are obnoxious to them." He further observed:
The Sheriff does not dare to go [to] Annemessex [River] to summon witnesses against the criminals who await their trial at the Special Court, and some of the most material witnesses live in that neighborhood.... Several Boats with tobacco, Wheat Flower [sic] etc. have been taken away from Pocomoke, Jones Creek, [and] Wicomico ... recently. Bodies of men have within these few nights past been seen passing and re-passing in the county. Persons in the low part of it, particularly one John Sterling, a defector, are openly and avowedly enlisting and sending them aboard enemy ships.
Martin then cited specific instances of roving bands of Loyalists raiding plantations, attacking the residences of local militia, as well as plundering and kidnapping those who were unfortunate enough to fall into their hands. He urged Governor Johnson to station 100 well-trained cavalrymen in the vicinity of Annemessex River. (74) The governor responded decisively, asking the state government to raise a militia unit of 150 men "to impose martial law martial law, temporary government and control by military authorities of a territory or state, when war or overwhelming public disturbance makes the civil authorities of the region unable to enforce its law. in Somerset County and establish a court martial COURT MARTIAL. A court authorized by the articles of war, for the trial of all offenders in the army or navy, for military offences. Article 64, directs that general courts martial may consist of any number of commissioned officers, from five to thirteen, inclusively; but they shall not system competent to conduct trials against Loyalists with the power of ordering executions." (75)
Armed with this new authority, Maryland troops, under the command of Colonel Mordecai Gist, restored the state's authority in Somerset and Worcester counties. But a change in British leadership created additional problems for the state government. Following General Howe's resignation in 1779, Sir Henry Clinton became the commander-in-chief of British forces in North America. Clinton differed significantly from Howe in one key respect. He was a soldier first, and foremost. He intended to suppress the Revolution and did not care how he had to do it, even if it required using Americans to fight fellow Americans. (76) He instructed James Chalmers, a Loyalist from Kent County, to raise a regiment of 1,000 Maryland and Delaware Tories. Chalmers was assigned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and placed in charge of the unit. Daniel Addison, Isaac Costen, Crafton Dulaney, Walter Dulaney, James Frisy, Caleb Jones, Patrick Kennedy, Phillip Barton Key were appointed as company captains, and Isaac Atwood as regimental surgeon. (77)
The men of this regiment were uniformed, trained, and treated as Regular troops in the British Army. The unit fought at the Battle of Monmouth Noun 1. Battle of Monmouth - a pitched battle in New Jersey during the American Revolution (1778) that ended with the withdrawal of British forces
Battle of Monmouth Court House, Monmouth Court House (1779), and participated in Cornwallis's Southern campaign (1780). It was disbanded at Pensacola, Florida in 1781. (78) It handled itself admirable, and showed what could have happened had the British pursued a more concerted policy of using Loyalists to defeat the rebellion.
The formation of the Eastern Shore Loyalist Regiment proved to be the last gasp of Maryland Tories in their efforts to thwart the revolutionary state government. Sporadic fighting continued on the Eastern Shore between 1780 and 1782, particularly when British raiding parties landed to ravage the seacoast during the Yorktown campaign, but such incidents were limited in both their frequency and the damage that they caused. (79) The revolutionary government thus withstood the Loyalist challenge in Maryland.
Why did the Loyalists fail? There is no easy answer to this question. First, there was no coordination of anti-government activity among the Loyalists. Their attempts to overthrow the state government were piecemeal, which gave officials in Annapolis ample time to respond to each one individually. If there had been an overall strategic plan to defeat the Patriots, it may have been successful. The powers of the state were overtaxed by the actions of the Loyalists as it were. If the Tories could have mounted a sustained attack against the state government instead of separate uncoordinated un·co·or·di·nat·ed
1. Lacking physical or mental coordination.
2. Lacking planning, method, or organization.
un upheavals, they might have achieved their goal. Here one should bear in mind that the confrontations between Loyalists and Patriots seldom escalated into armed confrontation. Loyalist activity usually consisted of passive, or restrictive attempts to hamper the war-making power of the state. Had the Tories concentrated on the application of force instead of harassment, they may have destroyed the credibility of the state government early in the war.
Britain's failure to make effective use of Loyalists to suppress the rebellion provides another explanation for the failure of loyalism on the Eastern Shore. Traditional British disdain toward colonials placed Great Britain in a situation where it defeated its own purposes. During the early stages of the war, the British missed an opportunity to arm Loyalists who could have served as a police force to suppress civil unrest. General Howe must accept the blame for this. He had too much respect and admiration for the colonists. He sought to defeat them with as little bloodshed as possible. He believed that the use of colonists to fight against one another would produce a bloody civil war, merely prolonging the conflict. With some foresight, Howe could have reduced the length and the outcome of the war. General Clinton realized this, and tried to employ Loyalist troops. They fought well in the Carolinas, but by then it was too late for them to offer much aid to the British in Maryland.
This failure in British strategy prevented the Loyalists from defeating the Patriot movement. Had the British occupied Maryland, they could have done much to suppress the Revolution throughout North America. They controlled the waters around the state, using the islands in the Chesapeake Bay as naval bases. If the British had mounted any kind of concerted offensive with the aid of Loyalists, they could have retained control of Maryland. This point is critical because Maryland served as the "breadbasket of the Revolution." Foodstuffs from Maryland fed the Continental Army throughout the war. For example, in 1780 the Eastern Shore provided the following foodstuffs for the Continental Army:
Beef 5,200,000 lbs. Flour 48,000 bbls. Salt 4,000 bus. Rum 17,000 gal. Corn 56,162 bus. Pork 5,500 bus. Hay 200 tonnes Tobacco 1,000 hogshead (80)
The British could have used Loyalists to burn crops and disrupt commerce on the Eastern Shore. Any interruption of the economy on the Eastern Shore would have deprived the Continental Army of vital logistical support. Equally important, such disruption of the local economy would have caused greater unrest among Eastern Shore farmers, who would blame the state government for their misfortune.
The final reason for the failure of loyalism on Maryland's Eastern Shore has to do with the actions of the state itself. In spite of its failings, the state government used as much intelligence and patience as it possessed to keep Maryland on its revolutionary course. The initial weakness of the Annapolis government made it impossible to muster much force against the Loyalists. Had the governor tried to use military force to quell unrest, this would have produced a bloodbath on the Eastern Shore. Nothing would have united Eastern Shoremen more than a conflict with troops from the Western Shore. The state government avoided this by using Eastern Shore troops, for the most part, to suppress local disturbances. By using local militia from, say, Talbot County to put down trouble in Somerset County, the state used the localism of Eastern Shoremen against them. The rivalry between counties was strong enough to check Tory activity on the Eastern Shore.
Two questions still need to be answered: First, did the Annapolis government adopt too punitive a policy in suppressing loyalism; and, second, how strong was loyalism on the Eastern Shore? At first glance, one can see that the state government adopted harsh penalties against certain disaffected individuals and groups. During the war, it conducted a harsh anti-Methodist, anti-pacifist campaign. Though it espoused a policy of religious freedom, the state government did its best to suppress the growth of certain non-traditional sects. This, in large part, demonstrated the traditional strength of the ruling elite and the Anglican Church. Pacifism was not as deleterious to the state as was anti-government rioting, but Methodists and Quakers often received heavier fines than did an avowed a·vow
tr.v. a·vowed, a·vow·ing, a·vows
1. To acknowledge openly, boldly, and unashamedly; confess: avow guilt. See Synonyms at acknowledge.
2. To state positively. Loyalist such as Isaac Atkinson who was jailed fewer times than Freeborn Garrettson. Speaking out against slavery was more of a heresy than overt loyalism. This double standard also applies to political opponents of the state, where discriminatory voting laws curbed Loyalist efforts to challenge the state government politically.
During the course of the American Revolution, the Annapolis government eased many of its restrictive measures that it had adopted during the critical early war years. Once it sensed that the threat of a British invasion had passed, it lifted restrictions on civil liberties. In fact, only three men were executed for treason during the war. (81) This indicates that the state was far more lenient than appears to be the case at first glance. The Annapolis government did not know that the British would never invade the state or that Loyalist groups in Maryland would not cooperate in their efforts to overthrow it. Taking these factors into consideration, the actions of the state government of Maryland were mild in comparison to those adopted by other states.
Just how strong was loyalism on the Eastern Shore? After reading the correspondence of those who remained loyal to the British Crown, one must conclude that loyalism seemed strong, but not strong enough to defeat the Patriot cause in Maryland. There were several anti-government uprisings on the Eastern Shore, but in looking at the actual number of serious threats to the revolutionary government there were only twenty-six outfight v. t. 1. to exceed in fighting; fight more competently; as, He outfought his challengers; the boxer outfought his opponent for eight rounds but lost the bout in the ninth on a knockout s>.
2. to defeat in a battle; as, The French forces outfought the Germans s>. disturbances throughout the course of the war. Many of these were not direct threats to the solvency of the state; they were nuisances at best. Tory pirate activities in the Chesapeake Bay proved to be the most serious threat to state authority. Simply put, the Loyalist movement lacked sufficient strength to defeat the revolutionary government in Annapolis without direct British assistance. By themselves, the Tories lacked the planning and organization skills necessary to defeat the state government. Had they received British support, a concerted effort may have defeated the Patriots by denying them vital supplies, shipping points, and communication links on the Eastern Shore. Without such support, the Loyalist effort to preserve British rule in Maryland ended in failure.
(1) For early samples of the Whig interpretation of the Revolution, that is, that it represented a mass movement for liberty against British tyranny, see Mercy Otis Warren re>
Mercy Otis Warren September 14, 1728 – October 19, 1814) was born in Barnstable, Massachusetts. As a young child, Mercy loved reading, writing, and listening to her brother and father discussing politics. , History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the Revolution, 3 vols. (Boston: Manning and Loring, 1805); George Bancroft, History of the United States “American history” redirects here. For the history of the continents, see History of the Americas.
The United States of America is located in the middle of the North American continent, with Canada to the north and the United Mexican States to the south. : From the Discovery of the Continent [to 1789] (New York: Appleton, 1882-1884). Other interpretations have modified or challenged this view. Proponents of the Imperial School argue that the British did not seek to impose tyranny on the colonists, and that war resulted from Atlantic misunderstandings bureaucratic bungling bun·gle
v. bun·gled, bun·gling, bun·gles
To work or act ineptly or inefficiently.
To handle badly; botch. See Synonyms at botch.
n. , and parliamentary mismanagement mis·man·age
tr.v. mis·man·aged, mis·man·ag·ing, mis·man·ag·es
To manage badly or carelessly.
mis·manage·ment n. . See Charles McLean Andrews Charles McLean Andrews (February 22, 1863 – September 9, 1943) was one of the most distinguished American historians of his time and widely recognized as a leading authority on American colonial history. , The Colonial Background of the Revolution: Four Essays in American Colonial History, rev. ed. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1931); Lawrence Henry Gibson, The British Empire Before the American Revolution, 1748-1765, 15 vols. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1939-1970). The Progressive School, in a radical break with the Whig interpretation of the American Revolution, argued that economic self-interests fueled the War for Independence and the writing of the Constitution in 1787. See Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States Constitution of the United States, document embodying the fundamental principles upon which the American republic is conducted. Drawn up at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the Constitution was signed on Sept. (New York: MacMillan Co., 1913). The Consensus School redeemed the image of the Founders by claiming that they all supported a liberal, Lockean ideal of a republic grounded on widespread property ownership and a state committed to individual rights and opportunities. See Richard Hofstader, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948); Louis M. Hartz, The Liberal Tradition in America: An Interpretation of American Political Thought from the Revolution (New York: Harcourt and Brace, 1955). More recently, the neo-Whig School has emphasized ideology as the real prism through which the colonists interpreted British imperial policy. See Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press The Harvard University Press is a publishing house, a division of Harvard University, that is highly respected in academic publishing. It was established on January 13, 1913. In 2005, it published 220 new titles. , 1967); Gordon S. Wood Gordon S. Wood (born 1933) is Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History at Brown University and the recipient of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for History for The Radicalism of the American Revolution. , The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1969); Edmund S. Morgan and Helen M. Morgan: The Stamp Act Stamp Act, 1765, revenue law passed by the British Parliament during the ministry of George Grenville. The first direct tax to be levied on the American colonies, it required that all newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, commercial bills, advertisements, and other Crisis: Prologue to Revolution (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press The University of North Carolina Press (or UNC Press), founded in 1922, is a university press that is part of the University of North Carolina. External link
(2) This idea was first attributed in print to John Adams in Sidney George Fisher, The True History of the American Revolution (Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott, 1902).
(3) For studies on Toryism in New York during the War for Independence, see Alexander Flick, Loyalism in New York during the American Revolution (New York: Columbia University Press Columbia University Press is an academic press based in New York City and affiliated with Columbia University. It is currently directed by James D. Jordan (2004-present) and publishes titles in the humanities and sciences, including the fields of literary and cultural studies, , 1901; reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1969); Edwin G. Burrows Edwin G. Burrows (born in 1943) is a professor of history at Brooklyn College, and is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of . He currently resides in Northport, New York. Burrows is the husband of vice president of Hofstra, Patricia Burrows. and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York City
The region was inhabited by about 5000  to 1898 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 232-61; Edward Countryman, A People in Revolution: The American Revolution and Political Society in New York, 1760-1790 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Johns Hopkins University, mainly at Baltimore, Md. Johns Hopkins in 1867 had a group of his associates incorporated as the trustees of a university and a hospital, endowing each with $3.5 million. Daniel C. Press, 1981); Joseph E. Tidemann and Eugene Fingerhut, eds., The Other New York." The American Revolution Beyond New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. , 1763-1787 (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press The State University of New York Press (or SUNY Press), founded in 1966, is a university press that is part of State University of New York system. External link
(4) Charles Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution: Delmarva's Eight Turbulent War Years (Salisbury, MD: Historical Books, Inc., 1976).
(5) J. Thomas Scharf, History of Maryland The history of Maryland included only Native Americans until Europeans, starting with John Cabot in 1498, began exploring the area. The first settlements came in 1645 when the English arrived in numbers of gaylord groups and created a permanent colony. : From the Earliest Period to the Present Day, vol. II, 1765-1812 (Baltimore, MD: A.B. Piet, 1879; reprint, Hatboro, PA: Tradition Press, 1967), 235.
(6) Richard Walsh, "The Era of the Revolution," in Maryland." A History, 1632-1974, eds. Richard Walsh and William Fox (Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society The Maryland Historical Society, founded in 1844, is the oldest cultural institution in the state of Maryland. The society "collects, preserves, and interprets objects and materials reflecting Maryland's diverse heritage. , 1974), 69-70.
(7) "Convention of Maryland, July 6, 1776," Proceedings of the Conventions of the Province of Maryland The Province of Maryland was an English colony in North America that existed from 1632 until 1776, when it joined the other twelve of the Thirteen colonies in establishing the United States and became the U.S. state of Maryland. Held at the City of Annapolis in 1774, 1775, and 1776, quoted in Calendar of Maryland State Papers, Red Books, no. 4, pt. 1 (Annapolis, MD: Hall of Records Commission, 1950), 41.
(8) Walsh, "The Era of the Revolution," in Maryland, eds. Walsh and Fox, 95. During the war, voting laws would be amended to allow for increased voter participation.
(9) Charles B. Clark Charles Benjamin Clark (August 24, 1844 - September 10, 1891) was a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin.
Born in Theresa, New York, Clark attended the common schools. He moved to Wisconsin in 1855 with his widowed mother, who settled in Neenah, Winnebago County. , A History of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia (New York: Lewis Publishing Company, Inc., 1950), 395.
(10) Ibid., 390-91.
(11) Ibid., 391.
(12) Ibid., 391-92. Surprisingly, Chase, who sponsored the earlier 10 [pounds sterling] reduction, as well as Paca, Carroll, and Governor Thomas Johnson, all voted against any further decrease in property requirements for voter registration. See Walsh, "The Era of the Revolution," in Maryland, eds. Walsh and Fox, 98.
(14) Ibid., 97-99. See also Ronald Hoffman, A Spirit of Dissent: Economics, Politics, and the Revolution in Maryland (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973), chaps. 5-9.
(15) "Deposition of James Mullineaux against John Simmons, May 22, 1775," in Dorchester County Court Proceedings, 1776-1783, Maryland Hall of Records [hereafter cited as MHR MHR (US, Australia) n abbr (= Member of the House of Representatives) → Abgeordnete(r) f(m) des Repräsentantenhauses ], Annapolis, Maryland.
(17) Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 122-27.
(18) "Dorchester County Committee of Observation to Council of Safety, November 15, 1776," in Archives of Maryland: Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Safety, July 7-December 31, 1776, ed. William Hand Browne (Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society, 1893), XII:449-51.
(19) General Court, Eastern Shore Criminal Prosecutions, 1778-1783, MHR; "Deposition of John Coleman, January, 1777," in Archives of Maryland." Journal and Correspondence of the Committee of Safety, January 1-March 1, 1777, ed. William Hand Browne (Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society, 1897) XVI:68; "Dorchester County Committee of Observation to Council of Safety, November 15, 1776," in Archives of Maryland, ed. Browne, XII:449-50.
(20) General Court, Eastern Shore Criminal Prosecutions, 1776-1783, MHR.
(21) Ibid.; "John Gibson to Council of Safety, Talbot County, January 4, 1776," in Archives of Maryland, ed. Browne, XVI: 16-18.
(22) "Deposition of Jeremiah Colston to James Lloyd Chamberlaine, December 30, 1776," in Calendar of Maryland State Papers, Red Books, no. 4, pt. 2 (Annapolis, MD: Hall of Records Commission, 1953), 126.
(23) These figures were taken from the general file on County Assessment Records for the prewar period which is housed at the Maryland Historical Society Library, Baltimore, Maryland.
(24) Tax Assessment List for the State of Maryland, 1783, MHR.
(25) Henry Hollyday to James Hollyday, July 14, 1775, Letters of Henry Hollyday, Brown Files, MHR.
(26) This is symbolic of the breakdown of the old social order. See Hoffman, A Spirit of Dissent.
(27) Ibid., 169-96.
(28) Arthur Lyon Cross, The Anglican Episcopate and the American Colonies (Hampden, CT: Archon Books, 1902), 77-78. See also, Aubrey Land, "Provincial Maryland," in Maryland, eds. Walsh and Fox, 26.
(29) Walsh, "The Era of the Revolution," in Maryland, eds. Walsh and Fox, 102-04; William H. Williams, The Garden of American Methodism: The Delmarva Peninsula, 1769-1820 (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1984), 50.
(30) Clark, A History of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, 417-18.
(31) Ibid., 417; Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 112.
(32) Clark, A History of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, 417; Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 112.
(33) Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 112. For an understanding of the mindset mind·set or mind-set
1. A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations.
2. An inclination or a habit. of religious loyalism in Maryland, see Jonathan Boucher, ed., Reminiscences of an American Loyalist, 1738-1789; Being the Autobiography of the Revd. Jonathan Boucher, Rector of Annapolis in Maryland and Afterwards Vicar of Epson, Surrey, England (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1925; reprint, Port Washington, NY: Kenikat Press, Inc., 1967); Philip Evanson, "Jonathan Boucher: The Mind of an American Loyalist," Maryland Historical Magazine 58, no. 2 (June 1963): 123.
(34) Both Robert J. Brugger and Donald M. Dozer state that the Maryland Assembly intended to use the Maryland Declaration of Rights and subsequent laws to disestablish dis·es·tab·lish
tr.v. dis·es·tab·lished, dis·es·tab·lish·ing, dis·es·tab·lish·es
1. To alter the status of (something established by authority or general acceptance).
2. the Anglican Church, and take control of both the vestries and church property as a way of weakening the power of the church, or, if necessary, abolish the church because of its relationship with Toryism. See Robert J. Brugger, Maryland." A Middle Temperament, 1634-1980 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), 116-22: Donald M. Dozer, Portrait of a Free State: A History of Maryland (Cambridge, MD: Tidewater Publishers, 1976), 250, 266.
(35) Walsh, "The Era of the Revolution," in Maryland, eds. Walsh and Fox, 104.
(36) Thomas Hanley, "The State and Dissenters dissenters: see nonconformists. in the Revolution," Maryland Historical Magazine 58, no. 4 (December 1963):325-33. On the lessening of persecution against religious dissenters as the war progressed, see Archives of Maryland, ed. Browne, XVI:156-76, 535-36.
(37) George P. Hays, Presbyterians (New York: J. A. Hill & Co., Publishers, 1892), 63.
(38) Frederick Norwood, The Story of American Methodism (Nashville, TN: Abington Press, 1974), 23-29.
(39) Ibid.; See also, Williams, Garden of Methodism, 12-17.
(40) Williams, Garden of Methodism, 49.
(41) Ibid., chapter 4.
(42) This is a fundamental teaching of Methodism.
(43) Williams, Garden of Methodism, 30.
(44) Ibid., 31-35.
(45) Nathan Bangs, ed., The Life of the Rev. Freeborn Garrettson: Compiled from His Printed and Manuscript Journals and Other Authentic Documents (New York: T. Mason and G. Lane Publishing, 1829), 50-60
(46) William Wroten, "Freeborn Garrettson--Early Shore Methodist," Salisbury (Maryland) Daily Times, July 30, 1958, [n.p.].
(47) Williams, Garden of Methodism, 33.
(48) Bangs, ed. The Life of the Rev. Freeborn Garrettson, 60.
(49) "The Loyalty Oath of the State of Maryland," quoted in Scharf, History of Maryland, II:304.
(50) Bangs, ed., The Life of the Rev. Freeborn Garrettson, 58-59.
(51) "Certificate to Council of Maryland from James Shaw, March 9, 1780," in Archives of Maryland: Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, ed. Bernard Christian Steiner (Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society, 1924), XLIII: 103-04.
(52) "Deposition of Thomas Hill Airey before Allen Quynn, March 8, 1780" and "Freeborn Garretson's Bond to the State of Maryland, March 13, 1780" in Archives of Maryland: Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 1779-1780, ed. Steiner, XLIII:443,448, respectively.
(53) Williams, Garden of Methodism, 68-79.
(54) Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 26.
(55) Ibid., 102-03.
(56) Scharf, History of Maryland, II:296.
(57) Such activities are described in J.A. Robinson, "The British Invade the Cheasapeake Bay, 1777," in The Cheaspeake Bay in the American Revolution, ed. Ernest McNeil Eller (Centreville, MD: Tidewater Publishers, 1981), 341-77.
(58) Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 105-10.
(59) "George Dashiell, Somerset County, to Governor Lee, December 8, 1780," in Archives of Maryland: Journal and Correspondence of the Council of Maryland, 17801781, ed. Bernard Christian Steiner (Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society, 1927), XLV:201-02.
(60) For a discussion of Whaland's activities throughout the war, see Edwin Jameson, "Tory Operations on the Bay," in The Chesapeake Bay in the American Revolution, ed. Eller, 384-402.
(61) "Deposition of George Ayres, December 2, 1777," in Minutes of the Eastern Shore Council of Safety, vol. III, 1571, MHR.
(63) "Deposition of Littleton Ayres [December 1777]," in Minutes of the Eastern Shore Council of Safety, vol. III, 1584, MHR.
(64) "Samuel Chase to State Safety Council, February 6, 1777," quoted in Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 60.
(65) Jameson, "Tory Operations on the Bay," in The Cheaspeake Bay in the American Revolution, ed. Eller, 384-402; Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 62.
(66) For a copy of the resolution, see Scharf, History of Maryland, II:299.
(67) Ibid., II:299-304; Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 59-64.
(68) Scharf, History of Maryland, II:300; Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 63-64.
(69) "George Dashiell to Governor Johnson, January 24, 1777," Calendar of State Papers, The Red Books, no. 4, pt. 2, 164.
(70) Jameson, "Tory Operations in the Chesapeake Bay," in The Chesapeake Bay in the American Revolution, ed. Eller, 379-84.
(71) Michael Pearson, Those Damned Rebels: The American Revolution as Seen Through British Eyes (New York: Putnam & Sons, 1972), 250-61.
(72) Ibid., 155-56.
(73) M. Christopher New, Maryland Loyalists in the American Revolution (Centreville, MD: Tidewater Press, 1996), 71-80.
(74) "Luther Martin to Governor Johnson, March 17, 1778," quoted in Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 92.
(75) "Governor Johnson to State Council, [March 1778]," quoted in Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 92-93.
(76) Pearson, Those Damned Rebels, 283-84.
(77) Truitt. Breadbasket of the Revolution, 101.
(78) New, Maryland Loyalists in the American Revolution, 65-97. See also, Pearson Those Damned Rebels, 250-61.
(79) Gene Williamson, Guns on the Chesapeake: The Winning of America's Independence (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1998), 267-70; Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 160-82.
(80) Truitt, Breadbasket of the Revolution, 141.
(81) Thomas Scharf, The History of Western Maryland: Being a History of Frederick, Montgomery, Carroll, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties from the Earliest Period to the Present Day, including Biographical Sketches of Their Representative Men (Baltimore, MD: Regional Publishing Co., Inc., 1882), 143; Williamson, Guns on the Chesapeake, 271.
BARRY PAIGE NEVILLE is an assistant professor of history at Eastern Shore Community College Eastern Shore Community College is a member of the Virginia Community College System and serves the residents of Accomack County and Northampton County as a two-year institution of higher learning. in Melfa, Virginia.