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"Philadelphia, June 14. In Congress, May 26, 1775. To the Oppressed Inhabitants of Canada."
Join the American Cause!
An important part of preparing for war is taking stock of your friends and enemies. Colonial leaders know that Canada's location would make it an ideal staging ground for a British attack on New England. In May 1775, skittish provincial authorities in Connecticut and Massachusetts dispatch expeditions to northern New York. Led by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen, the small force captures two British strongholds along the shores of Lake Champlain: Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point. Just a few days later, Arnold captures nearby St. Johns. Removing British troops from the region is only one part of the challenge, however; Congress must also win allies in Canada. As they did in 1774, delegates compose an address to the "oppressed inhabitants of Canada" in the hopes of swaying their fellow British colonists to the north.
To examine the entire issue of this newspaper, please see the online display of the New-England Chronicle: or, The Essex Gazette, 22-29 June 1775.
Questions to Consider
1. How does Congress attempt to persuade Canadians to join their cause? Identify at least five persuasive words and phrases used in the address.
2. How does Congress justify the capture of Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and St. Johns from the British?
3. Using a map of the colonies from ca. 1775 trace a potential route of invasion from Canada that would isolate the New England colonies. [Hint: What bodies of water could the British use to accomplish this task?]
4. Although Congress reaches out to Canada in May 1775, their attitude changes in June when delegates authorize an invasion of Canada. Read more about the invasion in your textbook or another reference book. Was the invasion a success? Why do you think Congress would reverse their attitude towards Canada in June 1776?