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American War of Independence

The relationship between Britain and her American colonies changed for ever with the Boston revolt of 1774, the revolutionary campaigns, and the constitutional agenda of the 1776 Declaration of Independence.

Dramatic events from the period became popular subjects of illustration. Letters and the reports of serving soldiers survive in family archives.

The 'Boston Tea Party', a decisive protest action against taxes imposed on the colonies, has often been reproduced in image. Mary Howitt used it to illustrate her 'Popular History of the United States of America' (1859). The government's hostile reaction caused a rapid escalation in the hostilities.

A map of military dispositions in the Charlestown area near Boston was drawn up in October 1775 by John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich and 1st Lord of the Admiralty.

This is one of many papers preserved in the Newcastle, Portland and Mellish Collections, which together help to chart the revolt and the role of individual commanders in it.

A letter of August 1780 gives news of the British army's success at Charleston, Carolina. It was written to Charles Mellish by Dr John McNamara Hayes, physician to General Sir Henry Clinton, during the Southern campaign.

Clinton, the Commander-in-Chief in America, was cousin to the Duke of Newcastle.

Further sources relating to this subject area are held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at King's Meadow Campus. See our website for information about our collections and catalogues.

Boston Tea Party Zoom in

Boston Tea Party

Map of Charleston Zoom in

Map of Charleston

Letter from McNamara Zoom in

Letter from McNamara

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