IGHR (Samford) — Day 3 — O! the Fatal Stamp!

O! the fatal Stamp

Today’s IGHR course in Vir­ginia geneal­o­gy got to the heart of the mat­ter: West­ward migra­tion and Vir­ginia (and Vir­gini­ans) in the Rev­o­lu­tion, the War of 1812, and the Civ­il War.

It felt like we were cram­ming a week’s worth of instruc­tion into each 75-minute seg­ment. And, indeed, there are a lot of events and a lot of records to cover.

A cou­ple of standouts:

I had known that George Wash­ing­ton start­ed the French and Indi­an Wars by allow­ing his troops to kill a French diplo­mat, then admit­ting cul­pa­bil­i­ty for the event in a French doc­u­ment he signed even though he could not read French.

I had also known that George Wash­ing­ton was the one of the wealth­i­est landown­ers in the Unit­ed States, sub­se­quent to his mar­riage to Martha Custis.

And while I had real­ized that the Stamp Act was intro­duced in order to pay for the expen­sive French and Indi­an Wars, I had not con­sid­ered the fact that the folks with the most to lose because of the increased tax­a­tion were the wealthy. This was fol­lowed by the repeal of the Stamp Act and its replace­ment by the Town­shend Acts which estab­lished addi­tion­al duties on paper, paint, lead, glass, and tea, which the colonies could nei­ther pro­duce in North Amer­i­ca, nor buy from any­one but Britain.

Fur­ther, and even more impor­tant, is the fact that the British crown was con­tra­dict­ing itself with the Roy­al Procla­ma­tion of 1763 lim­it­ing expan­sion west­ward (to avoid re-start­ing war with the Indi­ans), and promis­es to pro­vide boun­ty land out­side the Procla­ma­tion line to sol­diers who had served the crown in the French and Indi­an Wars.

So, eco­nom­i­cal­ly, a man like George Wash­ing­ton was see­ing promised land grants delayed, while tax­es and exter­nal con­trol from Britain was being increased. It would have been polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic sui­cide for Wash­ing­ton and his peers to ignore these provo­ca­tions from England.