It is a well-known fact that the Civil War tore at the very fabric of America’s family life. In that conflict, when brother fought against brother and father against son, many of the filial bonds that had held society together were cut.
The War Between the States, however, was not the only struggle that put a strain on family ties. The American Revolution operated every bit as effectively to sever family affiliations. Take for instance that situation in New Jersey between the royal governor and his famous father.
In 1776, as the inexorable tide of revolution rolled through the American colonies, the royal governor of New Jersey found himself dangerously out of step with his fellow citizens. Although born in America, he had spent much of his life in England where he had earned a master’s degree at Oxford and was later accepted to the bar. In 1763, at the conclusion of the French and Indian War, he came back home to be named royal governor of New Jersey.
The first two years of his term were pleasant and uneventful, and he was instrumental in founding Queens College, now known as Rutgers University. In 1765, however, he was unable to enforce the Stamp Act passed by Parliament, and when the spirit of revolution began to build, he was powerless to stop it even if he had wanted to do so...