'Crisses Cryssis Crises Crisis', Grace Galloway scratched at the bottom of the page. She might not have known how to spell it, but she certainly knew what crisis felt like when she wrote about it in wartime Philadelphia in the fall of 1781. Grace's husband, Joseph, a prominent Pennsylvania politician, had been a delegate to the first Continental Congress, convened in 1774 to find a resolution to the 13 colonies' grievances against Britain. Hoping to stave off open war, Galloway proposed a plan for closer imperial union and reform. It lost by one vote. When the colonies and Britain went to war in 1775, a disgruntled Galloway chose to remain loyal to Britain - a fateful decision for his family. Philadelphia, the first patriot capital, was seized by British forces in 1777 to great loyalist acclaim, only to be evacuated eight months later. Joseph Galloway was one of many loyalists who followed the departing British, fleeing first to New York City, then on to England as a refugee. The Galloways' bright teenage daughter Betsey travelled with him while Grace stayed behind in Philadelphia, hoping to protect her substantial family property from patriot reprisals.
LRB 5 August 2010 | PDF Download