Previous Chapter: Summer Soldier & The Cross-Time Patriot
“Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
~ Patrick Henry before the 2nd Virginia Convention, 1775
Excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s “The History of the Order of Freedom”, unpublished internal work, 1913
In March of 1775 George Washington was given the future technology from the Stranger and was tasked with determining out a way to accomplish his new mission, or rather determining where to even begin. Washington had spent several days thinking things over and working with the devices the man had brought. For chores around the plantation they were already making life useful. With the teleporter, Washington could cross the grounds in a second and some replicated gold did much to strengthen family finances.
However Washington had moral dilemmas about what everything he was about to undertake truly meant. Was it his place to change the course of history? Would he be changing God’s plan itself if he acted? Had the Stranger’s actions already set history on a new course and there was nothing Washington could do anyways? It would not be until mid-April that Washington got his answer when news reached him of the skirmish between the British and colonial minutemen at Lexington and Concord. Knowing full well that a war was on the horizon and having already made plans to attend the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia that summer, Washington set about to rally the revolutionary cause.
Firstly though, he set off to assemble a team of leaders who could help him in his cause. After all, the Stranger had given him multiple tools, not just a set for Washington himself. Washington would enlist the help of John and Samuel Adams and John Hancock of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, his old friends Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee and a young upstart named Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. But as the leader of this new gang, and as a longtime leader of soldiers in his own right, he was surprisingly indecisive about the next step. Only Martha Washington, who herself knew about the meeting with the Stranger, could provide some useful counsel. It would take more than already established, or at least in Jefferson’s case rising, revolutionary leaders to truly alter the course of history. With much consultation from the newly established Order, meeting at Mount Vernon itself, they decided leaders must be recruited from the other American theaters of the coming war: Canada and the Caribbean.
This however, would not be so easy. Canada had a large French population that was mixed in its support of the American cause. It was also separated from the 13 colonies on the eastern seaboard by miles of thick wilderness. Maintaining a revolution against the Crown along the St. Lawrence would demand the ability to support and fight largely independent of their English-speaking neighbors. To the south, the Caribbean would be especially vulnerable. England was the preeminent naval power of the era and the sugar islands of the British Caribbean were dependent on British aristocracy for their wealth, not American merchants and frontier farmers. Lastly, many of the Caribbean colonies had sparse free populations with the bulk of an island’s population consisting of slaves and plantation overseers who did not have the resources to take up arms against incredible odds. A revolution in the Caribbean could just as easily be a quick affair put down by England’s naval might, or, even worse, lead to a widespread and immediate slave revolt.
Still, the Order had to make the effort. After all they had unique tools that could be utilized to head off potential expected and unexpected problems. In the summer of 1775, the Order made it a priority to bring export the revolution and hand selected leaders to join their cause. Washington and the Adams brothers made a secret expedition to Montreal on June night and in doing so convinced the Québécois to send a delegation to the Continental Congress. In the same trip they found two Canadian leaders to join the Order itself. A Haligonian merchant and city leader named John Harper proved receptive to their cause. He was a critical addition as Halifax was the key British naval port to the Canadian Maritimes. An even more impressive turn came in the form of the royal Governor of Quebec, Guy Carleton. Carleton, by all accounts, was an ardent royalist and only turned on account of the Order’s technology and the fact that the outlandish stories Washington told him simply had to be true. Even then, he was given some weeks to make arrangements in Quebec, remove family members to Canada, and sell valuable estates and holdings.
To the south, Jefferson, Henry and Hancock found replicated gold to be the key to their success. A summer of sweltering island hopping and key payoffs secured numerous small delegations to the Continental Congress from the Caribbean. In an effort to maintain some balance in the Order as well, two islanders were brought on as happened in Canada. Governor John Dalling of Jamaica was a key addition to the order as he secured the large fabulously wealthy island. In a seemingly happenstance trip by Franklin to Grenada, the eccentric Philadelphian “discovered” (as he put it) a disgruntled royal navy officer named William Briggs who seemed ready to travel to the revolting colonies and find work in the naval war that would surely develop between the colonies and England. Instead of encouraging him to desert, he inducted him into the Order and charged him with the critical task of capturing royal navy ships stationed in the Caribbean and turning other officers and crew. His reasoning was the Caribbean would not hold long if the Royal Navy remained loyal and could regroup its various fleets. The Caribbean might have a punchers chance if it could capture the navy anchored in its midst and use it to keep a stunned British fleet on its toes, especially if London had to deal with a naval war from the Arctic to the Equator.
After a summer of tireless effort, and more travel than most men undertake in a lifetime for their day, these ten men comprised the Order of Freedom. Perhaps more impressively, every British possession in the New World with the exception of Bermuda had sent a delegate or delegation to the Continental Congress. In one summer, 13 coastal provinces had blossomed to the entirety of the British North American empire London had fought and paid so dearly for over the course of nearly two centuries.
What these men did not know was that their efforts from that fateful March day through August of 1775 had laid the foundations for a new world order. Not only had the destiny of the United States been changed but the destinies of these men had changed as well. The Order of Freedom had been established but now it was time for these men to conduct and manage a war for independence while maintaining their own secrecy.
Next Chapter: The Spirit of ’76