About Joseph Galloway
Joseph Galloway (1731 – August 10, 1803) was an American Loyalist during the American Revolution, after serving as delegate to the First Continental Congress from Pennsylvania.
He was born near West River, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and moved with his father to Pennsylvania in 1749, where he received a liberal schooling. He studied law, was admitted to the bar and began practice in Philadelphia. Galloway was a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly from 1756 to 1774 and served as Speaker of the House from 1766 to 1774. In 1775, when the Assembly declined Galloway's recommendation that it abandon its defiance of Britain, Galloway left the Assembly and the Congress.
Galloway was throughout his career a British-American nationalist, believing that the British Empire offered a citizen greater liberties than any nation on earth. He believed that most Americans would prefer to remain loyal to the Crown if only they were given a legitimate and effective government that would inspire their loyalty.
Galloway was a member of the Continental Congress in 1774, where he proposed a compromise plan for Union with Great Britain which would provide the colonies with their own parliament subject to the Crown. The plan was rejected by the Continental Congress by one vote. He signed the nonimportation agreement, while at the same time he was opposed to independence for the Thirteen colonies and remained loyal to the King. Ferling (1977) argues that Galloway's conduct was motivated partly by opportunism, and partly by genuine philosophical principles. Galloway was a resident of cosmopolitan Philadelphia and an associate of Benjamin Franklin with whom he corresponded over the issues of American/colonial independence.
Galloway urged reform of the imperial administration and was critical of the trade laws, the Stamp Act of 1765, and the Townshend Acts enacted in 1767; and as early as 1765 he had a conciliatory plan to end the disputes between England and the colonies. He believed that the British had the right to tax and govern the colonies, keep the peace, and help the colonies to survive and flourish (although he did also believe the colonies' words should be heard). Congress however voted to expunge Galloway’s plan from their journal, so he published it himself in 1775, reprimanding Congress for ignoring his correct analysis of Parliament’s powers and colonial rights. He proposed a written constitution and joint legislature for the whole British Empire. When rejected, he declined election to the Continental Congress.
In 1775, when the Assembly declined Galloway's recommendation that it abandon its defiance of Britain, Galloway left the Assembly and the Congress while Franklin sided with the movement towards colonial independence.
In December of 1776, Galloway joined the British General Howe and accompanied him on his capture of Philadelphia. During the British occupation, he was appointed Superintendent of Police, and headed the civil government. He had a reputation as a highly efficient administrator, but one who repeatedly interfered in military affairs. He aggressively organized the Loyalists in the city, but was dismayed when the British army decided to abandon the city. When the British army withdrew to New York, he went with them.
Exile in Britain
In 1778, he fled to England with his daughter, never to return to the colonies, and became a leading spokesman of American Loyalists in London. In 1778 the General Assembly of Pennsylvania convicted him of high treason and confiscated his estates. Much of his property was the inheritance of his wife, Grace Growdon Galloway. They resided in Trevose Manor, now known as Growden Mansion, and owned much of the land which is now Bensalem, Pennsylvania. In 1779 he appeared as a government witness in a parliamentary enquiry into the conduct of Lord Howe and General Howe during the Philadelphia campaign of which he was deeply critical.
He was influential in convincing the British that a vast reservoir of Loyalist support could be tapped by aggressive leadership, thus setting up the British invasion of the South. After the war Galloway spent his remaining years in religious studies and writing in England.
He died in Watford, Hertfordshire, England on August 29, 1803.
Galloway Township, New Jersey, may have been named for him, although there is another possible source of the name.