On August 21, 1775, King George III refused to hold an audience with Arthur Lee and Richard Penn. They had been sent by the Continental Congress to deliver the Olive Branch Petition. The King then learned of the Battle of Bunker Hill. On August 23, 1775, King George III publicaly denounced those colonists who he felt were behaving badly. “Many of our subjects in divers parts of our Colonies and Plantations in North America, misled by dangerous and ill designing men, and forgetting the allegiance which they owe to the power that has protected and supported them…” are in “rebellion, by arraying themselves in a hostile manner, to withstand the execution of the law, and traitorously preparing, ordering and levying war against us.” Colonists were called upon to disclose “treasons and traitorous conspiracies” that were being promoted by “wicked and desperate persons.”
So were the words included in King George III’s Proclamation of Rebellion. The Proclamation was actually entitled “A Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition.” In fewer than 400 words, the King labeled the Colonies as being in rebellion and called upon colonists who were loyal to him, as well as all those in the Colonies who were connected to the British throne, to “bring the traitors to justice” and crush the building insurrection.
Which colonists had made it onto King George’s top ten list of dangerous, ill designing and wicked men? Those patriots who were actually known to the King by name is unclear because of the absence of public documents or comments made by the King which actually referenced specific subjects who lived in the Colonies. Surely, he had heard the name “Benjamin Franklin.” Franklin had appeared before Parliament and the Privy Council where he had been labeled as a “prime conductor” of agitation against Britain. He had also delivered documents to and interacted with various governmental officials in London over the course of many years. The King may also have been aware of both Samuel Adams and John Hancock. They had been specifically excluded from General Thomas Gage’s June 12, 1775 offer of amnesty for all Bostonians who were willing to “lay down their arms, and return to the duties of peaceable subjects.” Aside from those men, it is unknown just how many of the other “Incendiaries and Traitors,” to use General Gage’s words, had been made known to the King.
Although there were those in Parliament who hoped the King would find some way to calm the conflict with the Colonies, his proclamation made it clear that he was in no mood to be conciliatory. He commented during his speech at the opening of Parliament in October, 1775 that he was prepared to use armed force against the “desperate conspiracy” by colonists who were fanning the flames of rebellion. While General Gage and King George III believed their proclamations would cause colonists to timidly fall into line and comply with British regulations and taxation, the opposite reaction occurred. Outrage spread throughout the Colonies because of Gage’s condescending tone. The King’s inflammatory description of their behavior prompted a bevy of formerly neutral colonists to side with those who actively sought separation from Britain. The words published by the King and General Gage only served to spurn on the march toward unbridled rebellion in the Colonies.
Read the document issued by King George III at:http://www.bingoforpatriots.com/american-history/13-colonies/british-proclamations-and-documents-regarding-the-colonies/a-proclamation-by-the-king-for-suppressing-rebellion-and-sedition/ Read the text of his remarks to Parliament at:http://www.bingoforpatriots.com/american-history/13-colonies/british-proclamations-and-documents-regarding-the-colonies/2227-2/. The attached image is of the death of Joseph Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Please take a moment to consider the colonists’ reaction to the proclamations issued by General Gage and King George III. Although they were not yet citizens of a constitutional republic, they refused to passively accept the words and dictates of their leaders. We can learn from their intolerance to have tyranny thrust upon them after living in relative freedom for so many years. Their rebellious nature and willingness to demand their liberty is another aspect of What IS Right With America!
Susan C. Rempel, Ph.D.