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The Journal of James Lewis: Living Through the American Revolution

The Journal of James Lewis: Living Through the American Revolution

By Emerson 8-7

The Stamp Act

22 March 1765

Official stamp under the Stamp Act

The French and Indian War (1754-1763)

28 March 1765

I vaguely remember the French and Indian War. It seems like it was forever ago, but it has only been four years. I was only a wee little thing at the time. Father said that the war was a very expensive war. The war was very costly for the British, he said. This is why they have been taxing us so much. The Crown must refill its coffers. The British Parliament continues taxing us, and they will not stop! First they enacted the Sugar Act, which forced the British and us colonists to pay taxes on sugar and alcohol, and now Parliament has started taxing us on stamps, as well! No one here likes these taxes.

Mother and Father really detest these taxes and had even refused to buy sugar for a short time. For a while, Mother was as mad as a hatter, incessantly wondering whether we should continue to buy sugar, or stop buying it altogether in hopes that the taxes would end. Finally, she gave in. Now we buy sugar from the market only once in a while. We used to drink warm, sweet tea everyday at luncheon, but now we hardly ever have sweet tea. Just thinking of the sweetness makes my mouth water. Since I was a little boy, Ive always put too many sugar cubes into my tea, but Mother doesnt allow this anymore. Well...she did make an exception on my birthday. She even bought some sweet biscuits! However, this happened two months ago! Now my tea tastes bitter.

Now Parliament has gone too far! Not only have they taxed our sugar, now they have started taxing us on stamps! We must use them all of the time! Every single piece of paper must be stamped to make it legal! Then we must pay the stamp collectors for stamping our documents! I hate those stamp collectors! A few days ago, my friend threw rocks at a stamp collectors house! Everyone is outraged, the British and we colonists, alike. This is ridiculous! Since the Stamp Act was enacted, Mother has been complaining even more. Why must we be the ones who are taxed? She moans, What are they going to do next, tax us on tea, too? I dont know why Parliament is taxing us. We colonists can run our own place. We dont need any British coming here to tax us! Why cant Parliament force only the rich men with their white wigs to pay the taxes? They only tax the women, children, slaves and servants back in Britain, the ones who can least afford to pay the taxes. Does Parliament think that we are just as menial as slaves and servants?! I dont see why we should be taxed. Father mentioned something about taxation without representation. I dont really understand what it is, but he told me that if we had a colonist representative in Parliament, we wouldnt have to pay the taxes on sugar or stamps any longer. King George III is an awful king. I hope that someday hell end these taxes. Why doesnt he allow a colonist representative into Parliament? Maybe hell change his mind. We should have a voice! I say no more taxes and no more Stamp Act!

I will no longer drink bitter tea.

The Boston Tea Party

16 December 1773

The Boston Tea Party (1773)

The Boston Massacre (1770)

16 December 1773

I felt sick as we wasted the precious tea, but I continued smashing the crates open and dumping them into Boston Harbor. As I thought of the men who died at the Boston Massacre, I knew that I had avenged them.

Mother was quite the happy bunny for a short while when Parliament repealed the Stamp Act. Finally, they stopped collecting some of the taxes! This merriment, however, was only temporary. Of course, I should have seen this coming. Parliament granted a monopoly on tea to the British East India Company and said that we colonists could only buy tea from them. Then, the blockheads taxed the tea. They call this the Tea Act. Now, Mother, Father, and I refuse to drink tea. To be honest, Ive been having tea cravings lately, but I must stay strong and always be a patriot.

Six years ago, King George III promised that he would end the taxes, and being the great king that he is, he didnt keep his promise. Instead, Parliament enacted the Townshend Acts, which levy taxes on paper, glass, paint and tea. Mother was right eight years ago: Parliament is now taxing us on tea! King George promised to give his people peace, prosperity and wealth, yet his people are becoming poorer and poorer. The Tyrant Across the Sea lives oceans away, and he is taxing us? We colonists have had enough!

I remember standing in the crowd, holding a snowball of my own. Some men had bits of oyster shell inside of their snowballs. Tossing the snowball in my hand, I wondered whether I should hit one of the Red Coats. I eyed the small group of British soldiers. A soldier glared at me, his hand on the trigger. Another man threw a snowball at Red Coats. No gunfire. Finally, I drew back my arm and let my snowball fly. Bang! The deafening shot exploded and my body froze. Had I been shot? Was I about to die? Bullets ricocheted all around, bouncing off of buildings and shattering windows. I sprinted down the road, wondering if the deaths to come would be my fault.

The Red Coats had killed our people and I was responsible for the lives that were taken at the Boston Massacre. It seems like it happened so long ago. I woke up early this morning, knowing this would be the day that I finally avenged those men, and I was excited. A group of around 200 patriots went over our plans for the evening at Boston Harbor. Some of us colonists were dressed as Indians. I was one of them. Smeared across my cheeks were streaks of Indian war paint. In the evening, we headed to Griffins Wharf. Quietly, we snuck onto the East India Tea Company ships. Using our tomahawks, we slashed open the wooden tea crates. The tealeaves drowned and bled in the Boston Harbor, dying the water a dark brown. The aroma of tea filled the air, making my stomach grumble. Ckk! The smashing of tea crates rang in my ears. As I listened to the boxes splashing in the water, a smile of satisfaction crept onto my face.

What a fun tea party!

The Treaty of Paris

3 September 1783

The Treaty of Paris (1783)

Signing of the Declaration of Independence (4 July 1776)

3 September 1783

Finally, we are free! We are no longer part of Britain! We are our own nation, the United States of America!

The day the Declaration of Independence was signed was perfect. Fluffy clouds floated lazily on a bed of clear blue sky as the sun smiled brightly from above. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal... These words still ring in my ears. Under our new government, the Colonies would be better than ever before. We would no longer be forced to live under the absolute tyranny of King George III!

Should I join the Continental Army? This question had bothered me for months. While I knew I had to serve my country and that we could no longer live under the evil Kings harsh rule, my beautiful wife, Eliza, hated the thought of my joining the Continental Army. My love, she said, plenty of other men can fight for the colonists. You must stay! You have a family! Callum and Little Jane need their father. What about your own mother and father? I wont allow it. Bursting into tears, she locked herself in our bedroom. I attempted to reassure her, but she wouldnt listen. Independence wont matter if you are dead, she screamed. Ill hate you if you leave us! With that, I realized I couldnt abandon my family. Another thought, however, also occurred to me; I love my family, but I also love my country. I was in a dilemma. Knowing what she would say, I went to see Mother. When I told her that I wanted to join George Washingtons army, she looked as if she would kill me herself. I already knew she wouldnt want me to leave; I was her only child. I couldnt leave, yet I knew I had to. Our independence mattered that much.

I now know that war is not glorious. Dead bodies were strewn everywhere. Screams and explosions filled the air. Glazed eyes stared at me and dark crimson gashes wafted odors of blood. Thoughts of my family kept me going. Dying on this battlefield will not bring my family honor, I thought, I must return home. I had to live through the battle, no matter what.

Its been two years since the Battle of Yorktown and the war is finally over! Representatives of King George III and our representatives, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Henry Laurens and John Jay, signed the Treaty of Paris today. The British have officially recognized our nations independence and we are known to the world as the United States of America! Things are so much better now that the Treaty of Paris was signed. Our fishermen have the right to fish the Grand Banks off the coast of Newfoundland and other fisheries in Canadian waters. The British have given us territory between the Allegheny Mountains and the Mississippi River, which has doubled the size of our nation. We have agreed to end the persecution of Loyalists, the colonists who didnt want independence, and to restore their property confiscated during the war. Creditors from both countries can recover debts owed to them. Everyone is happy!

War was far worse than I ever imagined; however, all the pain, suffering, and lost time were worth it. I am glad I fought for the independence of this wonderful nation. Even drinking bitter tea was worth it. I have a long life ahead to live in peace and freedom with my wife and children drinking sweet tea everyday.

We are no longer the colonists; we are the America


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