Pine Tree Flag
The Tree Flag (or Appeal to Heaven Flag) was one of the flags used during the American Revolution. The flag, featuring a pine tree flag with the motto "An Appeal to God," or, more usually, "An Appeal to Heaven," was used originally by a squadron of six cruisers commissioned under George Washington's authority as commander in chief of the Continental Army in October 1775. It was also used by Massachusetts' state navy vessels in addition to privateers sailing from Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts General Court established the flag of the state navy on July 26, 1776: "that the Colours be a white Flag, with a green Pine Tree, and an Inscription, "Appeal to Heaven.'"
The phrase "Appeal to Heaven" is used multiple times by John Locke in his work, Two Treatises of Government. The phrase connotes that after all other alternatives of seeking justice have been exhausted, only an "appeal to heaven" remains:
“What is my Remedy against a Robber, that so broke into my House? Appeal to the Law for Justice. But perhaps Justice is denied, or I am crippled and cannot stir, robbed and have not the means to do it. If God has taken away all means of seeking remedy, there is nothing left but patience. But my Son, when able, may seek the Relief of the Law, which I am denied: He or his Son may renew his Appeal, till he recover his Right. But the Conquered, or their Children, have no Court, no Arbitrator on Earth to appeal to. Then they may appeal, as Jephtha did, to Heaven, and repeat their Appeal, till they have recovered the native Right of their Ancestors, which was to have such a Legislative over them, as the Majority should approve, and freely acquiesce in.”
Media related to Flags with pines at Wikimedia Commons
- Naval History Center FAQ
- Locke, John. (1698). Two Treatises on Government, chapter 16, section 176
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