Joseph Galloway had the unique position of being an American-born Loyalist during the time of the Revolutionary War. Born in Maryland, he moved with his father to Pennsylvania where he was given a liberal schooling and eventually began to study law. He was admitted to the bar and began to practice in Philadelphia in the midst of bustling political activity.
In 1756, Galloway became a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly, and then became speaker of the house for the Pennsylvania Province in 1766. He was a devoted British supporter, and opposed the idea of independence for the colonies.
While attending the 1774 Continental Congress, Galloway proposed a plan. Believing the British Empire could offer citizens more liberties than any nation on earth, he called for the creation of a colonial parliament subject to the benevolent Crown. His idea failed to pass by one vote.
Galloway believed that the colonies’ words should be heard, but under the ruling thumb of Britain, whom he believed should keep the right to tax and govern British North America. Congress, becoming more and more focused on independence, decided to strike Galloway’s plan from their journal. So, in 1775, he published it himself and proposed a written constitution that would allow joint legislature for the whole British Empire. When this was also rejected, he declined election to the Continental Congress and left the assembly, while his associate, Benjamin Franklin, moved toward independence for the colonies.
In the winter of 1776, Galloway joined the British in occupying Philadelphia. He was made Superintendent of Police, and was an efficient officer who aggressively organized the city’s loyalists. To his dismay, the British abandoned their attempts to take the city and went to New York. Since that left him in a rather awkward position in Philadelphia, he followed them.
In 1778, Galloway and his daughter exiled themselves to Britain, never again to return to America. He became a leading spokesperson of American Loyalists in London. Meanwhile, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania convicted Galloway of treason and confiscated his estates.
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