On August 27, 1776, William Howe didn’t capture George Washington and end the American Revolution. But he could have, following his victory at Brooklyn Heights. Instead, Howe demonstrated a lack of energy that would characterize his tenure as British military commander in America.
Lazy, drunk or incompetent? Hardly. Howe was a distinguished officer beforehand and afterward. But he was also an MP who publicly questioned the justice or prudence of crushing the revolt. When duty called, he answered anyway.
But just possibly he, and his admiral brother Richard, didn’t really try to win the Revolutionary War because they didn’t really want to. Instead, in a highly awkward position, they did their duty and did well by their men, but that was it, on purpose.
I don’t care for conspiracy theories. But how else can one explain Howe’s behaviour, other than to raise a glass to a man who “threw” a war because he was a patriot who also loved liberty?
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