History American Revolution Part 4 Eyewitness Accounts

About an eyewitness account of the American Revolution.


The American Revolution As Seen by the British

Eyewitness Accounts: "Well, boys, you've had your Indian caper, haven't you?" Admiral Montague of the Royal Navy remarked to a group of Bostonians after the Boston Tea Party. "But mind, you've got to pay the fiddler yet." British officers in the colonies were at first inclined to express such patriarchal condescension, and had an upper-class contempt for the rough-hewn Americans; letters home reveled their chief concerns to be pay, promotion, and perquisites.

As the war settled in for good and earnest, the British became more bitterly impassioned. "I every day curse Columbus and all the discoverers of this diabolical country," Maj. John Bowater wrote, while a surgeon on board one of His Majesty's ships described the rebel army as "truly nothing but a drunken, canting, lying, praying, hypocritical rabble." A few, however, were moved to admiration of the Americans, particularly for Gen. George Washington and his ragged "banditti," who managed to frustrate the empire's finest. "Come on, Maister Washington," murmured a grizzled old Highland officer in Virginia, "I could na think of gangin' home without a sight of you."

With their defeat at Yorktown, it seemed to the British soldiers like "The World Turned Upside Down"--one of their marching songs in which "ponies rode men" and "grass ate the cows." News of the defeat was received by British prime minister Lord North "as he would have taken a ball in his breast," a colleague reported. "O God! it is all over!" North kept repeating, and it was for him. His government would soon fall. The king, who had threatened to abdicate rather than give the rebels their freedom, steeled himself to receive John Adams, the ambassador from the new nation. Privately, however, he confided, "[I will] never lay my head on my last pillow in peace and quiet so long as I remember the loss of my American colonies."

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