The Antipathy Between The British And The Colonists Was Very Bad.

by Daniel Russ on August 15, 2019

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This is from Rick Atkinson’s Book The British Are Coming!

“Irked at the dissent, the government had stepped up covert surveillance and intelligence gathering. Suspected rebel sympathizers in London were ordered “narrowly watched,” their neighbors discreetly questioned about irregular activity. The baggage of passengers arriving from North America was searched for rebel correspondence. In a three-room suite off Lombard Street, a growing staff of secret service clerks by mid-September was opening and reading up to a hundred letters a day from the New York mailbags, with or without warrants, including private correspondence from Royal Navy officers and British officials in America. Additional letters were intercepted from foreign diplomats, European bankers, and political opponents trusting enough to rely on the Royal Mail. Especially intriguing correspondence, such as letters addressed to Dr. Franklin or General Lee, was copied and sent to the king and his senior ministers, while the originals went back to the General Post Office for normal delivery. A superintendent complained of overwork in deciphering coded letters and repairing wax seals so that they appeared unbroken. “I had so much to do,” he added in a November memorandum, “that I knew not which way to turn myself.” Despite such “difficulty, pains, and trouble,” the intelligence collected often was disappointingly thin, little more than gossip. George nevertheless carefully noted the time—to the minute, as usual—he received each batch of pilfered mail.”

“A Calvinist people marinated in the doctrine of predestination braced for the inevitable, and preparations for war continued apace. Clandestine military cargo had arrived all winter from Hamburg, Holland, even London, smuggled through a hundred coves and stored in a thousand barns. The Simsbury Iron Works in Connecticut cast cannonballs. Salem women secretly cut and stitched five thousand flannel powder cartridges for field guns. The provincial congress, meeting first in Cambridge and then in Concord, ordered enough military stores amassed for fifteen thousand militiamen: canteens, bell tents, field tents, Russian linen, wooden spoons. By April, the provincial stockpile included 21,549 firelocks, nine tons of gunpowder, eleven tons of cannonballs, ten thousand bayonets, 145,000 flints. Fifteen medicine chests, purchased for £ 500 from Boston apothecaries, contained opium, liquid laudanum, emetics, mercurial ointments, tourniquets, and a trepan for boring holes in a skull to relieve pressure from an injured brain. Dr. Warren would distribute the chests among seven towns by mid-April, including two sent to Concord.”


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