The Attempt
     To Win Over The Hessians

   In an effort to subvert the British use of German mercenary soldiers, collectively referred to as Hessians, the Continental Congress undertook a propaganda campaign. During the session held on 14 August 1776: "The committee appointed to devise a plan for encouraging the Hessians, and other foreigners, to quit the British service, brought in a report, which was taken into consideration; Whereupon, the Congress came to the following resolution:"

Whereas it has been the wiテ policy of theテ フates to extend the protection of their laws to all thoテ who ドould テttle among them, of whatever nation or religion they might be, and to admit them to a participation of the benefits of civil and religious freedom; and, the benevolence of this practice, as well as its ヂlutary effects, have rendered it worthy of being continued in future times.
And whereas, his Britannic majeフy, in order to deフroy our freedom and happineピ, has commenced againフ us a cruel and unprovoked war; and, unable to engage Britons ブfficient to execute his ヂnguinary meaブres, has applied for aid to certain foreign princes, who are in the habit of テlling the blood of their people for money, and from them has procured and tranパorted hither conナderable numbers of foreigners.
And it is conceived, that ブch foreigners, if appriテd of the practice of theテ フates, would chuテ to accept of lands, liberty, ヂfety and a communion of good laws, and mild government, in a country where many of their friends and relations are already happily テttled, rather than continue expoテd to the toils and dangers of a long and bloody war, waged againフ a people, guilty of no other crime, than that of refuナng to exchange freedom for ネavery; and that they will do this the more eパecially when they reflect, that after they ドall have violated every Chriフian and moral precept, by invading, and attempting to deフroy, thoテ who have never injured them or their country, their only reward, if they eツape death and captivity, will be a return to the deパotiノ of their prince, to be by him again バld to do the drudgery of バme other enemy to the rights of mankind.
And whereas, the parliament of Great Britain have thought fit, by a late act, not merely to invite our troops to deテrt our テrvice, but to direct a compulナon of our people, taken at テa, to テrve againフ their country:
Reバlved, Therefore, that theテ フates will receive all ブch foreigners who ドall leave the armies of his Britannic majeフy in America, and ドall chuテ to become members of any of theテ フates; that they ドall be protected in the free exerciテ of their reパective religions, and be inveフed with the rights, privileges and immunities of natives, as eフabliドed by the laws of theテ フates; and, moreover, that this Congreピ will provide, for every ブch perバn, 50 Acres of unappropriated lands in バme of theテ フates, to be held by him and his heirs in abバlute property.

   The Congress directed that the resolution was to be translated into German and then distributed among the Hessians accompanying the British, who were at that time encamped on Staten Island. The plan did not succeed as the Congress had hoped. There were very few deserters among the Hessian troops. In fact, it was reported by the Loyalist in the region that a group of Hessians prepared effigies of generals Washington, Lee, Putnam and Witherspoon. They were then burnt despite a heavy rainstorm that had suddenly appeared. The tale went on to say that the effigy of Washington had not been tarred before the rain started. As a result, it refused to burn. The superstitious German troops were shocked and called an end to the ceremony.

   The propaganda campaign to entice the Hessians to desert from the British army failed primarily because they had no family or national ties to the Patriots. Unlike the German emigrants who had come to these shores prior to the outbreak of the Revolution, and who had families here to defend, the Hessian mercenaries' only ties were to the British Army which was paying them to serve. A person, by nature, is loyal to the first hand that is extended to him. The enticements of land offered the Congress were simply not enough to lure most of the Hessians from the British.