Proclamation by General William Howe (manuscript copy), 28 October 1775
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[ This description is from the project: Coming of the American Revolution ]
Faced with a seige that must be sustained through winter, General Howe worried that his armies' hold on the city would crumble without supplies and assistance. This proclamation requests that the remaining citizens living in Boston, mostly loyalists, either enlist or offer aid to the British army.
"Preservation of Order and Good Government"
The siege continues, and General Howe has not moved his troops from Boston. Soon it will be winter, and too late to move the British Army elsewhere. The city is crowded with Loyalist refugees, who seek protection from the British Army. Many patriot families have left the city, and their houses stand empty. As the siege goes on, Howe knows that supply routes from the ocean will be closed by winter storms, and food and firewood will be in desperately short supply. Contact with England being so difficult, Howe must make his own plans to keep control of Boston through the winter.
Questions to Consider
1. What is appealing about Howe's address? Does he make his request sound reasonable?
2. How is this address delivered?
3. What is the benefit of having a citizen's letter attached to the official proclamation?
4. How is this proclamation like or unlike other proclamations from the British government featured on this website?
5. You are in command of an occupying force under siege, with a disgruntled populace living side by side with your soldiers. What do you do to ease relations between occupiers and natives?