Oliver Wolcott, A Revolution In Government Is About To Take Effect
Below are several snippets of letters from Oliver Wolcott.
The first is to Samuel Lyman in February of 1776. Mr. Wolcott writes that Congress has resolved to no longer make trade with England and its allies. His hope is that the ladies “will still make themselves Contented to live without Tea, for the good of their Country.”
Mr. Wolcott passionately writes, “I hope I shall do my duty, and have satisfaction in doing it.” He expresses that the “peace and security [of the colonies] will require great deliberation.” He goes on to say, “I know of no time which can be more necessary and seasonable than the present, to conclude this mighty affair.”
In May of 1776 Mr. Wolcott again writes to Samuel Lyman and to his wife, “Mrs Wolcott.” He writes to then both that “A Revolution in Gover[n]ment … is about to take Effect.”
In both the February letter and the May letter, Mr. Wolcott writes strongly about the “Rights of the People.” He says, “To give up any of our rights will never I hope be done.” In his June 1776 letter to his wife he says, “Every Thing is leading to the lasting Independancy of these Colonies.”
Writing about the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Wolcott says, “If this Recommendation takes effect which undouptedly it will, There will be an instance Real not implyed or Ideal of a Goverment founded in Compacet Express and Clear Made in its Principles by the People at large.” He saw that this would be a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Quotes from Oliver Wolcott
Oliver Wolcott to Samuel LymanPhilidelphia 3d Febry 1776
. . . . The Congress have Resolved that after the first of next March they will carry on Trade with every Nation and People, except England, Ireland, the british West India; etc. under the Regulation of the association, and Subject to such other Regulations as Congress shall Ordain who probably will not alter the Association but in some very few particulars. The Ladys I hope will still make themselves Contented to live without Tea, for the good of their Country. . . . . If you should ask me how I like attending Congress, I must tell you I cannot answer that question yet. I hope I shall do my duty, and have satisfaction in doing it. I believe there will be no Recess of Congress till spring, and then it will depend upon circumstances. . . . . The Union of the Colonies, I trust may be relied upon, but the establishment of those Colonies in peace and security will require great deliberation. But I know of no time which can be more necessary and seasonable than the present, to conclude this mighty affair. To give up any of our rights will never I hope be done; and I imagine Great Britain will never settle with us upon the terms of Enjoying them, what consequences those contrarient and fixed claims must produce, will be easily conceived. . . . .Oliver Wolcott to Samuel LymanPhilidelpa 16 May 1776
. . . . The News is inclosed. A Revolution in Goverment you will perceive is about to take Effect. May God grant a happy Establishment of it, and secuerety to the Rights of the People. If this Recommendation takes effect which undouptedly it will, There will be an instance Real not implyed or Ideal of a Goverment founded in Compacet Express and Clear Made in its Principles by the People at large.
A strange Infatuation has possessd the british Councills to drive Matters to the lengtth they have gone. every Thing convinces me that the Abilities of a Child might have governed this Country, so strong has been their Attachment to Britain. May the supreme Ruler of the Universe carry us thro the hardy Conflict to Liberty safety and Peace. . . . .Oliver Wolcott to Mrs WolcottPhiladelpa 1 6th May 1776
. . . . By the Enclosed you will perceive that a Revolution in Goverment is recommended:— to swear allegiance and act under an Authority which had not only cast us out of its Protection but for so long a Time has been carrying on the Most cruel War against us, was tho’t not only absurd but impious. . . . .Oliver Wolcott to Mrs WolcottPhiladelpa 15 June 1776
. . . . We seem at present to be in the Midst of a great Revolution, which will probably be attended with most important Consequences. Every Thing is leading to the lasting Independancy of these Colonies. . . . .Edmund Cody Burnett. Letters of members of the Continental Congress, Volume 1. The Carnegie Institution of Washington. 1921
Oliver Wolcott, a Delegate from Connecticut; born in Windsor, Conn., November 20, 1726; was graduated from Yale College in 1747; commissioned a captain by the Governor of New York in 1747; raised a company of Volunteers and served on the northwestern frontier until the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle; returned to Connecticut and settled in Litchfield; studied medicine, but did not practice; elected sheriff of the newly organized county of Litchfield, Conn., in 1751; member of the State council 1774-1786 and at the same time judge of the county court of common pleas; judge of probate for the Litchfield district many years; major general of militia; appointed by the Continental Congress in 1775 as one of the commissioners of Indian affairs for the northern department, intrusted with the task of inducing the Iroquois Indians to remain neutral; Member of the Continental Congress 1776-1778 and 1780-1783; a signer of the Declaration of Independence; commander of the fourteen Connecticut regiments sent for the defense of New York in 1776, and divided his time between Army service and service in Congress; commanded a brigade of militia which took part in the defeat of General Burgoyne in 1777; Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut 1786-1796; elected Governor in 1796 and served until his death in Litchfield, Conn., December 1, 1797; interment in the East Cemetery.