The Revolutionary Struggle to the Battle of Brandywine
stacle which intruded itself in carrying out the idea of a free constitutional government, and should be done away with. Hence, to that end they resolved that the members of the General Assembly should be urged to pass a law prohibiting the future importation of slaves into the province.
On March 20th a meeting of the committee of Chester County was held at the house of Richard Cheyney, in East Calm, where Messrs. Hockley, Johnston, Gronow, Lloyd, Frazer, Moore, and Taylor were appointed a committee to draft a petition to the Assembly, "with regard to the manumission of slaves, especially relating to the freedom of infants hereafter born of black women within this Colony," and report at the following meeting, while each committeeman was instructed to "use his utmost diligence in collecting the several sums of money subscribed for the use of Boston, and pay the same" to Anthony Wayne, "treasurer," at the next meeting, after which the committee adjourned to meet on Wednesday, May 31st, at the house of David Coupland. But before that date had come, the reverberation of the musketry volleys at Lexington and Concord had stirred the blood of the Whigs throughout the colonies, and nothing was considered but how preparation should be made to meet the storm which had now broken on the country. Hence, in Chester County the committee met at an earlier day than that named when they adjourned in March, and published the following extract from the proceedings then had:
"In Committee, Chester, May 22, 1775.
The enlistment of soldiers was at once begun, for on June 29, 1775, at a meeting of several officers of the militia of Chester County, it was determined that for the better regulation of the military in this district it was advisable that a meeting of all the officers in the companies should be held at the public-house of Richard Cheyney, in East Calm, on the 21st day of July next, the day immediately after the Continental Fair, at which meeting it was proposed to divide the county into the most proper and convenient military districts, to form several battalions, and to elect field-officers. The next day, June 30th, the Assembly by resolution recommended to the boards of commissioners in all the counties in the province, "as they regard the Freedom, Welfare, and safety of their County immediately to provide a proper number of good new Firelocks with Baynets fitted to them, Cartridge Boxes with Twenty-three Rounds of Cartridges in each box and Knapsacks," and in the apportionment five hundred of each of these equipments was the number the county of Chester was directed to procure.1 By the same act the Assembly appointed a Committee of Safety, consisting of twenty-four members, those named from Chester County being Anthony Wayne, Benjamin Bartholomew. Francis Johnston, and Richard Riley, only the latter residing within the territory now comprising Delaware County. On July 10th, for the first time, was any of the committee from Chester County present at the meetings of the body, and on that occasion Francis Johnston and Anthony Wayne both took part in the proceedings.
|1 Colonial Records, vol. x. p. 279.|
In a letter dated at Philadelphia, July 10, 1775,2 the writer says, "Travel through whatever part of this country you will, you see the inhabitants training, making fire-locks, casting mortars, shells, and shots, and making saltpetre, in order to keep the gunpowder-mills at work during the next autumn and summer. Nothing, indeed, is attended to but preparing to make a defence that will astonish the whole world."
|2 Hazard's Register, vol. iii. p. 248.|
On July 17th the Committee of Safety determined that eight good rifles should be assigned to each boat now building, a part of which were to be put into the hands of such men as Capt. Francis, of Philadelphia, and Col. Wayne, of Chester County, should engage to go as minute-men on the boats when required. At this time Wayne was colonel of militia only. The same day the committee requested "the good women" of the province to supply their family doctors "with as much scraped Lint & old Linen for bandages as they can conveniently furnish, that the same may be ready for the service of those that shall happen to be wounded in the defence of the country."
Considerable apprehension having been aroused among the members of the Society of Friends as to their position amid all this din and clash of approaching war, Congress, on July 18, 1775, by a resolution to those people "who from Religious Principles cannot bear Arms in any Cause, this Congress intends no Violence to their Conscience, but earnestly recommend it to them to Contribute Liberally in this time of universal calamity to the relief of their distressed brethren in the several colonies, and to do all other services to their oppressed country which they can consistently with their Religious principles."
The allusion to riflemen to be placed on the boats, who were to be men selected by Capt. Francis and Col.