| American History Stories, Volume II|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Tales of Revolutionary times, including the causes of the American Revolution, the daring exploits of those defending liberty, the early battles, the struggles of the army, and the heroes who led the colonists to victory. Ages 8-12 |
BEHAVIOR OF THE COLONISTS
The colonists all over the country were furious when this
stamped paper was sent to them.
The Boston people declared they wouldn't buy one sheet
of it; they would buy nothing, sell nothing; the young
men and maidens would not get married; they would do
nothing, indeed, which should compel them to use this
stamped paper. To show their contempt for the whole
matter, they made a straw figure of the English officer
who had the paper to sell, dressed it in some old
clothes of his, and hung it on a big tree on Boston
In New Hampshire, the people paraded the streets with a
coffin on which was written, "Liberty is dead." They
carried it to the grave, had a "make-believe" funeral
and then, just as they were about to bury it, some one
shouted, "Liberty is not dead!"
Then they drew up the coffin and carried it through the
 streets again; crying, "Liberty's alive again!
Liberty's alive again!"
In Charleston, South Carolina, stood an old tree, known
as "Liberty Tree." It was a great live oak, growing in
the centre of the square between Charlotte and Boundary
During the excitement over the Stamp Act, about twenty
men, belonging to the "best families" in the state,
assembled beneath this tree to hear an address by
With vigor he condemned the measure, and urged his
hearers to resist to the utmost such abominable
This is said to have been the first public address of
the kind that had been delivered in the colonies.
The men, after hearty cheers, joined hands around the
tree, and pledged themselves to "resist English
oppression to the death."
The names of these men are still on record. Most of
them were indeed true to their pledge and
distinguished themselves in the war that followed, by
their courage and patriotism.
This "Liberty Tree" was regarded with such reverence by
the patriotic Carolina people, that Sir Henry Clinton,
who held Carolina after its surrender to the British,
ordered it to be destroyed. It was cut down, and
 branches were heaped about the trunk and the whole
burned. A mean act, one would say, to burn an
unoffending tree; but perhaps Sir Henry had in mind the
old anecdote which, if I remember rightly, runs
something like this:
"Why do you kill me, an innocent trumpeter? I have not
fought against you."
"Very true," replied the captor; "you
may not fight
yourself, but you incite others to fight. Hence I kill
In Pennsylvania, William Bradford, the editor of the
Pennsylvania Journal, came out with a "final
issue," at the head of which were "skulls and
crossbones," pickaxes and spades, all suggestive of the
death-blow that had been struck at the press. This
number of the journal was deeply embellished with heavy
black margins, and was in truth a most dolorous looking
affair, as you may see from the picture on the next
FAC-SMILE OF THE "PENNSYLVAINIA JOURNAL" ON THE STAMP ACT
In Virginia, a young man, named Patrick Henry, so
stirred up the people that the old men, angry as they
were with England, were frightened, and begged him to
be careful what he said.
Benjamin Franklin was sent to England by the colonists
to see what could be done. When he reached there, he
found that many of England's greatest men were on the
side of the colonists.
One of the men in the English government rose and made
a speech against the colonists, in which he said,
 "What! will these Americans, these children of ours,
who have been planted by our care, nourished by us,
protected by us, will they now grudge us their money to
help throw off our heavy debt!"
Up jumped Colonel Barre. "Planted by your care,
indeed! It was your persecution that drove them to
America in the first place!" he cried.
"Nourished by you! When have you nourished them? They
have grown up by your very neglect of them! Protected
by you! Have they not just now been fighting with your
soldiers to protect you, rather, from the French
and the Indians?"
And good William Pitt of England! He arose and made a
speech which, by and by, every boy and girl should
learn. He said, "We are told that the Americans are
obstinate; that they are in almost open rebellion
against us. I rejoice that America has
resisted. I rejoice that they are not so dead to all
feelings of liberty as to be willing to submit like
Hurrah for William Pitt and Colonel Barre! Don't
forget, all you little American men and women, that we
had good friends in England then as we have now. There
were lovers of liberty in that country, who were as
eager as we were to resist all unjust laws.
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