The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: May 11

To the Officers in the Army.
GENTLEMEN, FROM the duty we owe to God and our country, we freely and cheerfully part with our sons at this time, many of them the props of our old age, and support of our families. We send them forth, under your government and direction, to fight our battles against the cruel invaders of our rights and liberties. -- We give them up to you as their parents and guardians, as well as their Captains and commanders. Suffer us then to urge it upon YOU to be careful of their morals. We less dread the loss of their lives in the field, than we do the loss of their virtue in the camp. . . . The Parents of the Youth in the Army

Virginia Gazette (Dixon & Hunter) May 11, 1776

About this entry:

While the authors of this message are unknown, their reference to "the loss of virtue" indicates their concern that their sons will face temptations of the flesh while in the Army. Samuel Johnson defined "virtue" as "moral goodness" the definition that would be familiar to 18th century parents.

Sources: Johnson's Dictionary

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