Year
1775
Month Day
October 26

King George III speaks to Parliament of American rebellion

On October 26, 1775, King George III speaks before both houses of the British Parliament to discuss growing concern about the rebellion in America, which he viewed as a traitorous action against himself and Great Britain. He began his speech by reading a “Proclamation of Rebellion” and urged Parliament to move quickly to end the revolt and bring order to the colonies.

The king spoke of his belief that “many of these unhappy people may still retain their loyalty, and may be too wise not to see the fatal consequence of this usurpation, and wish to resist it, yet the torrent of violence has been strong enough to compel their acquiescence, till a sufficient force shall appear to support them.” With these words, the king gave Parliament his consent to dispatch troops to use against his own subjects, a notion that his colonists believed impossible.

Just as the Continental Congress expressed its desire to remain loyal to the British crown in the Olive Branch Petition, delivered to the monarch on September 1, so George III insisted he had “acted with the same temper; anxious to prevent, if it had been possible, the effusion of the blood of my subjects; and the calamities which are inseparable from a state of war; still hoping that my people in America would have discerned the traitorous views of their leaders, and have been convinced, that to be a subject of Great Britain, with all its consequences, is to be the freest member of any civil society in the known world.” King George went on to scoff at what he called the colonists’ “strongest protestations of loyalty to me,” believing them disingenuous, “whilst they were preparing for a general revolt.”

Unfortunately for George III, Thomas Paine’s anti-monarchical argument in the pamphlet, Common Sense, published in January 1776, proved persuasive to many American colonists. The two sides had reached a final political impasse and the bloody War for Independence soon followed.

READ MORE: Revolutionary War History

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Whitney Houston earns her first #1 hit with “Saving All My Love For You”

Whitney Houston was the daughter of soul singer Cissy Houston and niece of pop star Dionne Warwick, and she parlayed her vocal gifts and the professional nurturing of her well-connected family into superstardom of a kind rarely matched before or since. A near-unknown prior to the ...read more

Erie Canal opens

The Erie Canal opens, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River. Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York, the driving force behind the project, led the opening ceremonies and rode the canal boat Seneca Chief from Buffalo to New York City. Work began on ...read more

Infant receives baboon heart

At Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, California, Dr. Leonard L. Bailey performs the first baboon-to-human heart transplant, replacing a 14-day-old infant girl’s defective heart with the healthy, walnut-sized heart of a young baboon. The infant, known as “Baby ...read more

Shootout at the O.K. Corral

On October 26, 1881, the Earp brothers face off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in a legendary shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. After silver was discovered nearby in 1877, Tombstone quickly grew into one of the richest mining towns in the Southwest. Wyatt Earp, ...read more

Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner lets ground ball roll through his legs

In the wee hours of the morning on October 26, 1986, Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner lets an easy ground ball dribble between his legs and roll down the right-field line. It was just a routine fielding error, but it was a disaster for the Boston Red Sox: It was the 10th inning ...read more

George W. Bush signs the Patriot Act

On October 26, 2001, President George W. Bush signs the Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism law drawn up in response to the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The USA PATRIOT Act, as it is officially known, is an acronym for “Uniting and ...read more

“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak is born

On October 26, 1946, Patrick Leonard Sajdak, who will one day be known to millions of game-show fans as the Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak, is born in Chicago. Wheel of Fortune, which debuted in 1975, became the longest-running syndicated game show on American television, ...read more

An Ozzy Osbourne fan commits suicide

Nineteen-year-old John McCollum is found shot to death on his bed in Indio, California. Although it was quickly determined that the fatal wound was self-inflicted, McCollum’s parents believed that singer Ozzy Osbourne was actually responsible because their son had been listening ...read more

“Bloody Bill” Anderson killed

On October 26, 1864, the notorious Confederate guerrilla leader William “Bloody Bill” Anderson is killed in Missouri in a Union ambush. Born in the late 1830s, Anderson grew up in Missouri and moved to Kansas in the late 1850s. Arriving to settle on his father’s land claim east ...read more

Benjamin Franklin sets sail for France

On October 26, 1776, exactly one month to the day after being named an agent of a diplomatic commission by the Continental Congress, Benjamin Franklin sets sail from Philadelphia for France, with which he was to negotiate and secure a formal alliance and treaty. In France, the ...read more

Japanese planes destroy the U.S.S Hornet

On October 26, 1942, the last U.S. carrier manufactured before America’s entry into World War II, the Hornet, is damaged so extensively by Japanese war planes in the Battle of Santa Cruz that it must be abandoned. The battle for Guadalcanal was the first ...read more

Brazil declares war on Germany

On October 26, 1917, Brazil declares its decision to enter the First World War on the side of the Allied powers. As a major player in the Atlantic trading market, Brazil—an immense country occupying nearly one-half of the entire South American continent—had been increasingly ...read more