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Response to jimmy the one (Reply #34)

Mon Apr 30, 2018, 03:33 AM

36. Speaking of mythology...

I see J1 is back spinning tales from his fertile imagination. Let me see if I can address at least some of his flights of fancy:

First of all, he keeps trying to differentiate between “British” and “colonists”. The fact is that most of the colonists considered themselves to be loyal British subjects, and as such, expected to be allowed to enjoy the rights of British subjects. That included the right of all loyal Protestant subjects to bear arms for their defense.

I can't lay my hands on the post, but J1 himself actually (accidentally, I think) provided a link one time to a British source that confirmed that, although the right to bear arms in pre-revolutionary war England was limited, it was indeed an individual right. In lieu of that, here is a BBC story that talks about guns in Britain over the years... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7056245.stm

In 1767, Mr. Gerard Hamilton, a member of Parliament who opposed taxing the colonies and indeed thought that the taxes were impermissible under English law, wrote in a letter that”there are, in the different provinces, about a million of people, of which we may suppose at least 200,000 men able to bear arms,: and not able to bear arms, but having arms in their possession, unrestrained by any iniquitous game act. In the Massachusetts government particularly, there is an express law, by which every man is obliged to have a musket, a pound of powder, and a pound of bullets always by him:” quite a few more muskets than he would have you believe...

https://books.google.com/books?id=sADdt5lUSsoC&pg=PA203&lpg=PA203&dq=william+gerard+hamilton+to+gerard+calcraft+letter+armes+in+the+house&source=bl&ots=SvxHxqFvLd&sig=lzw3gWXFov6i7pTKMUoT6hrpAys&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwissI38oOHaAhWHrFkKHbCFBKIQ6AEIRzAE#v=onepage&q=william%20gerard%20hamilton%20to%20gerard%20calcraft%20letter%20armes%20in%20the%20house&f=false p. 203

The British sent troops to America in 1768, led by General Thomas Gage. This was in response to colonial proclamations denouncing the taxes that were being levied on the colonies. These proclamations were considered by the King to be disloyal, in a speech November 8, 1768 at the opening of Parliament.

In 1774, after the Boston Tea Party, the first of the Intolerable Acts referenced in the Declaration of Independence were passed. Among them was an act that gave the governor absolute authority over all judicial and official appointments and removals, as well as appointing sheriffs who then selected all jurors. Gage was appointed Governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, and told to use his troops as necessary to quell the unrest.

Gage's first effort to disarm the colony came when he began to restrict withdrawals from the local powder houses, where gunpowder that had been imported was stored until merchants and provincial authorities made their withdrawals, without his express order. He rescinded this order after a couple of incidents that were publicized in the local papers.

On September 1, 1774, Gage decided to seize all remaining powder in a powder-house on Quarry Hill. He had been informed by a brigadier general (Brattle), that all powder left in another powder-house in Charlestown was the King's property because all private powder had been removed, and his intention was to ensure that no more British gunpowder fell into the colonists hands. He then began once again to restrict any withdrawals of ANY gunpowder, private or public, from the powder-houses. When the colonists aired their complaints in the Suffolk Resolutions, Gage wrote to Lord Dartmouth (the instigator of much of the unjust actions that led to war) that he thought it prudent to prevent the withdrawal of any powder at all, no matter who it belonged to. He also instituted search and seizure operations at the main entrance to Boston, impounding all firearms and associated material (bullets and powder) that were found.

On October 19, 1774, the King and his ministers put in place a 6-month ban on exporting arms and ammunition from Great Britain, and importing arms or ammunition into the colonies. (That would fall under the heading of disarmament, wouldn't it?) However, the Dutch, who always enjoyed tweaking the nose of the British, cheerfully set about bypassing the ban and providing aid to the colonies, with some success. (This ban was extended for another 6 months in April 1775, but of course by then open hostilities had begun) As a direct response to the knowledge of the ban reaching the colonies, an armed colonial force overran a British fort at Portsmouth and confiscated all arms and ammunition.

The arms storage at Concord was NOT British property. It had been amassed by rebel forces at several farmhouses in the area. Gage had been told by a spy that there were 4 brass cannon there, which were almost certainly ones that had been stolen from the British months earlier. When Gage heard this, he directed a force of 700 men to go to Concord and seize and destroy the rebel caches, and specifically to spike any brass cannon they came across. He also provided a map containing the locations of all houses, barns, etc., where the material was stored. This expedition, of course, led to “the shot heard round the world”. And as far as I can find out, there is no evidence that the brass cannon were ever at Concord.

One quick note – firearms were much more common than J1 would have you believe. According to the study at the link below based on probate records:

http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1489&context=wmlr

more than half of all probate records of the time showed guns as part of the estate. They were more common in well-to-do inventories than in poorer ones, of course,but there were present even there. This correlates with the militia requirements that the colonies levied on able-bodied men to be able to show up armed and equipped to defend the community.

As for long rifles, there were at least ten companies of sharpshooters formed at the beginning of the war. These consisted of frontiersmen who had spent their entire lives perfecting the art of shooting accurately to protect themselves and provide for their families. These sharpshooters had been used with great effect during the French and Indian wars. Their main limitation was the time required to reload, which was one of the reasons that they obsessed over hitting their target with the first shot - because the chances of reloading and getting a second shot at the same target were vanishingly small.

The first company that joined Washington's army immediately made their presence known by picking off key British personnel at ranges up to and sometimes exceeding 200 yards with regularity. This led the British to accuse the Americans of being bad sports, since this simply wasn't done...

I think that about covers it. I'll stand by for more Fractured Fairy Tales...

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LineLineLineLineLineReply Speaking of mythology...
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