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The British Lose Control, 1765-1776

One hundred years after they captured the colony, the British began to lose control of New York as angry mobs took to the streets to protest the Stamp Act on the night of November 1, 1765. Civil unrest and outright defiance of British taxation ultimately led to the outbreak of war in April of 1775 at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. After the initial military actions in and around Boston, the British withdrew from that city in March 1776 and set their sights on New York as their base of operations in North America. Major General Charles Lee and Brigadier General William Alexander, Lord Stirling, were charged with preparing the defenses of the city against imminent British attack.

This document was written four days after the Stamp Act Riots in New York by Cadwallader Colden, then the ranking British official in New York, who had been burned in effigy by the rioting mob.

Colden, Cadwalader, 1688-1776., ALS (New York, November 5, 1765), 2 pages.