|“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” were the last words of 21-year-old American patriot Nathan Hale, who was hanged by the British without a trial on SEPTEMBER 22, 1776.
A Yale graduate, 1773, Nathan Hale almost became a Christian minister, as his brother Enoch did, but instead became a teacher at Union Grammar School.
When the Revolutionary War began in 1775, Nathan Hale joined a Connecticut militia and served in the siege of Boston.
On July 4, 1775, Hale received a letter from his Yale classmate, Benjamin Tallmadge, who was now General Washington’s chief intelligence officer:
“Was I in your condition … I think the more extensive service would be my choice. Our holy Religion, the honour of our God, a glorious country, & a happy constitution is what we have to defend.”
Nathan Hale accepted a commission as first lieutenant in the 7th Connecticut Regiment under Colonel Charles Webb of Stamford.
Tradition has it that Nathan Hale was part of daring band of patriots who captured an English sloop filled with provisions from right under the guns of British man-of-war.
Following the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, August 27, 1776, the British went from Staten Island across Long Island and were intent on capturing New York City.
General Washington was desperate to know British plans and wrote on September 6, 1776:
“We have not been able to obtain the least information on the enemy’s plans.”
Washington sought a spy to penetrate the British lines to get information.
On September 8, 1776, Nathan Hale stepped forward as the only volunteer.
Knowing that the act of spying on the British, if caught, would be punishable by death, his fellow officer Captain William Hull attempted to talk him out it.
“I wish to be useful, and every kind of service necessary to the public good becomes honorable by being necessary.
If the exigencies of my country demand a peculiar service, its claim to perform that service are imperious.”
On September 12, 1776, Hale was ferried behind enemy lines to Long Island to discover British troop movements.
On September 15, 1776, 4,000 British troops landed at Kip’s Bay at the east end of 33rd Street and proceeded to capture New York City.
General Washington retreated to Harlem Heights on Manhattan Island’s north end.
On September 21, 1776, Hale was captured by the “Queen’s Rangers” commanded by an American loyalist, Lieut. Col. Robert Rogers.
General William Howe ordered Hale to be hanged the next morning.
Hale wrote a letter to his mother and brother, but the British destroyed them, not wanting it known a man could die with such firmness.
Hale asked for a Bible, but was refused. He requested a clergyman, but was denied.
Nathan Hale was marched out and hanged from an apple-tree in Rutgers’ orchard, near present-day 66th Street and Third Avenue in New York City on SEPTEMBER 22, 1776.
The Essex Journal stated of Nathan Hale, February 13, 1777:
“At the gallows, he made a sensible and spirited speech; among other things, told them they were shedding the blood of the innocent, and that if he had ten thousand lives, he would lay them all down, if called to it, in defense of his injured, bleeding Country.”
Nathan Hale may have drawn inspiration for his last words “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” from the well-known English play “Cato.”
The play “Cato” was written by Joseph Addison in 1712, as Hale had been involved in theater while a student at Yale:
“How beautiful is death, when earn’d by virtue!
Cato the Younger (95-46 BC), was a leader during the last days of the Roman Republic who championed individual liberty against government tyranny; representative republican government against a despotic dictatorship; and logic over emotion.
Attempting to prevent Julius Caesar from becoming a dictator, Cato was know for his immunity to bribes, his moral integrity, and his distaste for corruption.
George Washington had the play “Cato” performed for the Continental Army while they were encamped at Valley Forge.
American Heritage Magazine’s article, “The Last Days and Valiant Death of Nathan Hale” (April 1964), gave fellow soldier Lieutenant Elisha Bostwick’s description of Nathan Hale:
“He was undoubtedly pious; for it was remark’d that when any of the soldiers of his company were sick he always visited them & usually prayed for & with them in their sickness.”
Nathan Hale’s nephew was Massachusetts Governor Edward Everett, who spoke at the dedication of the Battlefield right before Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.
Nathan Hale’s grand nephew was well-known author Edward Everett Hale, who wrote:
“We are God’s children, you and I, and we have our duties … Thank God I come from men who are not afraid in battle.”
Capturing this patriotic spirit, American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his poem, “Voluntaries” (1863):
“So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
Now is the time for all good Compatriots to come to the aid of their Chapter!
The 2016 Texas Society Sons of the American Revolution October Board of Managers Meeting is fast approaching.
Our Chapter is honored to be hosting it and our preparations are almost complete.
We need your help!
First, Past Chapter President Henry Shoenfelt is coordinating the manning of the Registration Table. Please volunteer for an hour or two to support his effort. His email address is email@example.com.
Second, Chapter Chaplain Max Miller is collecting items for the Silent Auction. We are asking each of you to donate one item for it. If you are willing and able, please let Max know what your item will be. The money collected will go entirely to the SAR’s Patriot Fund. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Third, Chapter President Elect Jim Clements is marketing raffle tickets for the custom made knife and hatchet. Please consider supporting this effort as well by purchasing raffle tickets. The cost to our Chapter is $1100.00 and anything we collect above that amount goes to our Chapter treasury to support all the things we do during the year. Please let Jim know how many raffle tickets he should save for you. His email address is email@example.com. Attached is the flyer for these raffles. Please share it with everyone you think might be interested because the more money we raise from these, the more the chapter can do the great work it does. They can buy the raffle tickets online and DO NOT have to be present to win.
If you have never attended a state Board of Managers Meeting, I recommend you do so Saturday in place of our regular monthly Chapter meeting. If you intend on coming Saturday, please register at the following link: http://www.txssar.org/reg_oct16.htm
Lastly, Color Guard members are reminded to wear period attire so we can represent the chapter in force. As always, you will earn points towards color guard service medals. If you have any questions on this, please contact our Deputy Color Guard Commander, Robert Hites. His email address is Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are excited to have the opportunity to showcase Austin, Texas and the Patrick Henry Chapter to our fellow TXSSAR Compatriots.
Please come join us by registering and enjoying the fellowship and experience with like-minded Patriots!
Thank you for your support!
Compatriots and Friends,
Yesterday members of the Ft. Worth, Georgetown, Austin, and San Antonio chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution along with our friends in the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI dedicated a luncheon to honor our members who are Vietnam Veterans. Please click on the image below for more pictures of the event:
Good Morning Compatriots:
Registration for the Constitution Week Luncheon is about to close. The deadline is today September 6th. Seating is limited so don’t delay! The following information answers all of the immediate questions:
When: Saturday, September 17th starting at 11:00am
Where: Austin Women’s Club
708 San Antonio St. Austin, TX 78701
Speaker: Evan Young
Former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia at the United States Supreme Court
Cost & Registration:
Online Price – $26.25 adult / $8.50 (12 and under) – To register go to the Donate Button on the left side of our page.
There is a small processing fee charged by PayPal for the online convenience.
In the meantime here are some pictures from previous events at the Austin Women’s Club.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at the Luncheon!