This Day In Founding Fathers History – 26 July
On this day in 1775, the Maryland Assembly resolved that a quarter of a million dollars in new currency bills be printed in order to encourage the manufacture of gunpowder. Thomas Sparrow was the engraver and designer of the new bills. On one, Britannia is depicted receiving a petition from the Continental Congress. A female “America” is holding a liberty cap while stomping on a scroll which says “Slavery.” American troops are seen in the background. King George is also depicted in the scene, trampling the Magna Carta and setting fire to an American city under attack by a fleet of British ships. Along the borders, the words “An Appeal to Heaven” and “Pro Aris Et Focis” (for altars and hearths) are written. The opposite side depicts America and Britain sharing an olive branch with the words Pax Triumphis Potior, roughly meaning peace is preferable to victory. 1
One notable birthday on this day in 1727, that of Horatio Gates. Gates was born in England and moved to America at 22, fought during the French and Indian War, and then returned to England. He didn’t return to the U.S. until 1772, at which point he purchased a plantation in Virginia. At the outset of the Revolutionary War, Gates became a brigadier general, taking command of troops in New York. Gates and his army defeated General Burgoyne twice. Gates and Washington had a strained relationship, with Gates going over Washington’s head to the congress and his failure to follow certain orders. Eventually he landed in trouble when he marched his army, low on supplies and ill-equipped to fight, into the Battle of Camden, a huge American defeat. Gates left the battlefield, abandoned his army, and rode 200 miles home. He sold his Virginia plantation, freed his slaves, and bought an estate in New York. 2
One other notable birthday on this day in 1983 is that of Clint Stroman, better known as Captain Picard. Clint has edited and animated The Spirit of 76 and Road to Independence feature films and keeps the website updated with content.
1 “Writing It All Down: The Art of Constitution Making for the State and the Nation,” msa.maryland.gov/msa/speccol/sc2200/sc2221/000004/000001/html/0000.html; “The Eve of the Revolution and the Introduction of Continental Dollars, Maryland Colonial and Continental Bank Note Issues of the American Revolution, www.thecurrencycollector.com/pdfs/Maryland_Colonial_and_Continental_Bank.pdf
2 “Horatio Gates,” George Washington’s Mount Vernon, www.mountvernon.org/educational-resources/encyclopedia/horatio-gates