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Proclamation by William Howe, General and Commander-in-Chief

Proclamation by William Howe, General and Commander-in-Chief - Museum of the American Revolution by Joy of Museums

Proclamation by William Howe, General, and Commander-in-Chief

This Proclamation by William Howe, General, and Commander-in-Chief, was an appeal to the American loyalists for help.

British strategists believed that the Revolutionaries were in a minority of the population and that the Loyalists would flock to support the King.

Thirteen Colonies

The Thirteen American Colonies were the British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Thirteen Colonies had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems and were dominated by Protestant English-speakers.

They were part of Britain’s possessions in the New World, which also included colonies in Canada, the Caribbean, and the Floridas.

By 1775, the colonial population had grown to over 2.5 million, displacing American Indians. Included in the colonies were people subject to a system of slavery, which was legal in all the colonies before the American Revolutionary War.

In the 18th century, the British government operated its territories under a mercantile system, in which the English government administered its possessions for the economic benefit of the mother country.

The Thirteen Colonies had a high degree of self-governance and active local elections and resisted London’s attempts at more control.

In the 1750s, the colonies began collaborating instead of dealing directly with, or only via, Britain.

These inter-colonial activities cultivated a sense of shared American identity and led to calls for protection of the colonists’ “Rights,” especially the principle of “no taxation without representation.”

Grievances with the British government led to the American Revolution, in which the colonies collaborated in forming the Continental Congress.

The colonists fought and won the American Revolutionary War (1775–83) with the aid of France and, to a smaller degree, with the Dutch Republic and Spain.

General Sir William Howe

General William Howe, (1729 – 1814) was a British Army officer who rose to become Commander-in-Chief of British forces during the American War of Independence.

Howe was sent to North America in 1775 after the American War of Independence broke out. After leading British troops to a costly victory in the Battle of Bunker Hill, Howe took command of all the British forces in America.

Howe oversaw the Siege of Boston, before embarking on a campaign in 1776 that resulted in the capture of New York City and parts of New Jersey.

Howe was knighted after his successes in 1776.’s in capturing both New York City and Philadelphia.

In 1777 he controversially failed to support John Burgoyne, whose campaign for control of the Hudson River ended in the surrender of his army, leading to the entry of France into the war.

Howe’s role in developing the plans for the Saratoga campaign and the degree to which he was responsible for British failures in 1777 have both been subjects of debate. 

He resigned his post as Commander in Chief, North America, in 1777, and the next year returned to England.

Proclamation Text


By His Excellency the Honorable William Howe: General and Commander in Chief of all His Majesty’s forces, within the Colonies lying on the Atlantic Ocean, from Nova- Scotia, to West-Florida, inclusive &c. &c. &c.

WHEREAS it is represented, that many of the loyal Inhabitants of this Island have been compelled by the Leaders in Rebellion, to take up Arms against His MAJESTY’S Government: Notice is hereby given to all Persons so forced into Rebellion, that on delivering themselves up at the HEADQUARTERS of the Army, they will be received as faithful subjects; have Permits to return peaceably to their respective Dwellings, and meet with full Protection for their Persons and Property.

All those who chose to take up Arms for the Restoration of Order and good Government within this Island shall be disposed of in the best Manner, and have Encouragement that can be expected.

GIVEN under my HAND, at Head Quarters on Long Island, this 23rd day of August, 1776. William Howe

By His Excellency’s Command.

Proclamation by William Howe, General, and Commander-in-Chief

  • Name:         Proclamation by William Howe, General, and Commander-in-Chief
  • Location:     American Colonies, Long Island, New York
  • Made:         1766
  • Material:     Paper and Ink
  • Museum:    Museum of the American Revolution

A Tour of the Museum of the American Revolution

William Howe – Conqueror of New York

British Generals of the American Revolution

William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe


“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few,
and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”
– George Washington


Photo Credit: 1) JOM

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