Tampa Chapter

Sons of the American Revolution

March 2020



          March Meeting

          February meeting recap

          Revolution History note

          Program Schedule 

          JROTC Presentations

          Color Guard Opportunities & Activities

          Misc. reminders and information


The March Meeting of the Tampa chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution has been cancelled to insure we do not compromise the health of any of our compatriots or other friends.  Even though the probability of contacting the COVID-19 virus is small and the probably of illness being “serious” if infected is also small,  most of our members are in that age group most likely to contact the virus and if so, for the illness to be “serious”.   Despite the low odds, we do not want to present the opportunity for any of you or your family and friends to be exposed to this new virus.  We had a great meeting planned and hope to be able to show you that presentation at a future meeting. 


The February meeting was held on board the USS American Victory. After a brief meeting, members enjoyed an hour-long tour that covered the ship from stem to stern.  A good time was had by all.


American Revolution Notes:

          On three occasions during the American War for Independence, Britain appointed peace commissioners to negotiate an end to the rebellion.

          The first meeting between a British peace commissioner and American representatives occurred shortly after the Battle of Long Island.  King George III had given Admiral Lord Howe authority to hold discussions with the American representatives and limited power to end the rebellion.  The Continental Congress sent Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Edward Rutledge to the meeting. Howe wanted the meeting to be an informal discussion with the men as private citizens.  The Americans insisted that they be acknowledged as representatives of the Continental Congress.  Howe agreed to that demand and the four met on Staten Island in early September of 1776.   Howe offered the Americans pardons (with some exceptions), and that he would discuss colonial grievances.  In exchange, the Americans had to agree to, among other things, a cease-fire and dissolution of the Continental Congress. The Americans informed Lord Howe that any negotiations had to include the recognition of American independence.  Since Howe did not have the authority to grant that request, the meeting produced no results.1

          Two years later, following the American victory at Saratoga and being fearful of an alliance between France and America, Prime Minister Lord North sent a peace commission to meet with the Continental Congress.  The Carlisle Commission, as it is now known, proposed a cease-fire and put forth a proposal that, in essence, would give the Americans home rule within the empire.  Several events conspired to torpedo any chance of British success with their new proposals.  First, the Americans and France concluded their alliance before the commission could sail for America.  Second, the British army evacuated Philadelphia and returned to New York. The Americans viewed this as a favorable event, especially since the British move to New York included the Battle of Monmouth, an American victory. With the French alliance in hand and the British army besieged in New York, the Congress told the commissioners when they arrived that any settlement must include recognition of American independence.  The commissioners did not have the authority to either discuss or grant American independence, so the commissioners returned to England empty-handed.2

          In 1780 the crown appointed Sir Henry Clinton and Vice-Admiral Mariot Arbuthnot, the Commanders-in-Chief of the Royal forces in North America as peace commissioners.  They proposed a cessation of hostilities and communicated to the Congress that pardons would be granted to those who deserved them.  Congress simply ignored the offer.

          Two notes by way of an epilogue.

1. In the November 2015 newsletter I wrote a column on the Howe brothers and explained a thesis put forth by Ira Gruber in his book on these men.  The gist of the thesis is that the Howe brothers did not want a decisive military victory and hoped a peaceful solution to the rebellion could be found.  In the December 2017 newsletter I briefly reviewed another book dealing with the Howe’s that while not going as far as Gruber, also suggests that the Howe’s desired a peaceful solution short of total victory.  Both books mention that the Howe’s never understood the determination of the Americans or the real reasons for the rebellion.

2. Several historians have suggested that had the Carlisle Commission proposals for home rule been made in 1775, the Americans would probably have accepted them, and the war avoided.  However, they are quick to point out that in 1775 George III would never had agreed to home rule for the American colonies.


Program Schedule

April 18       JROTC Recognition (tentative)

May 16         (hopefully) Rodney Kite-Powell from the Tampa Bay History Center     

Sep 19         Compatriot Charles Klug—the port of Tampa

Oct 17         Law Enforcement, Firefighter & EMS Recognition

Nov 21         Students from St Petersburg College answering either the question:

1.     The most interesting thing I learned about the American Revolution that I didn’t know before taking Mr. Yarnell’s class is…?


2.    The one event from the revolution I would most like to have witnessed is…?

Dec 19         Wreaths Across America


JROTC Presentations

With the extended spring breaks and the potential for school closures, the various JROTC Awards Ceremonies may not occur as planned, if at all.  Compatriot Terry Doan will do his best to keep abreast of the changing schedules and let us know. 


Color Guard Opportunities & Activities


May 1-2                 Florida SAR Annual Meeting                    Kissimmee

May 9                    Battle of Pensacola Commemoration          Pensacola

July 12                   Memorial Service 2020 National SAR

                                    Congress                                             Richmond


The Commemoration of the Battle of Thomas Creek (Jacksonville) and the West Central Florida Honor Flight spring flights have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus.


Your Chapter Color Guard Commander represented the Tampa Chapter as part of the State Color Guard Presenting the Colors at the opening session of the Florida DAR Annual Conference in Orlando and at the Commemoration of the Last Naval Battle on Merritt Island. 



Miscellaneous Reminders

Chapter Website—remember you can find information about the chapter and programs on the chapter website.      http://www.tampasar.org/


One of the duties of the Chapter Chaplain is to send cards to our members that are sick. Another is to send a sympathy card to the family of a member who has passed away. If you know of anyone that should be the recipient of these cards please mention it to Chaplain Sessums or one of the other officers at our next meeting.


Chapter officers and committee chairman are encouraged to send any pertinent information they wish included in the newsletter to the editor.