In Chains, who is "the beast" the mayor of New York refers to, and what does he mean?

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That quote appears in chapter 14, and the full quote is as follows:

"The beast has grown too large," the mayor said. "If it breaks free of its chains, we are all in danger. We need to cut off its head."

This is the chapter that narrates one of Isabel's early opportunities to spy for the rebellion. Mr. Lockton has some very important Loyalist guests over in this chapter, and one of them is the mayor of New York. Isabel is told to serve them refreshments, and like Curzon predicted, the men behave as if Isabel isn't even there or can't understand what they are talking about. The men are discussing the state of the rebellion, and they are worried that the Patriots are gaining too much power. The mayor states that the best way to weaken and eventually wipe out the rebellion is to assassinate George Washington. The beast that the mayor is talking about is the rebellion as a whole, and the metaphorical head is George Washington. The mayor believes that if the beast's head (George Washington) is destroyed, the rest of the beast (the rebellion) will wither and die soon after.

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The beast referred to on page 89 of Laurie Halse Anderson's Chains is George Washington. George Washington, or General Washington, is part of the revolution. As a member of the party who desires separation from England, Loyalists (those loyal to England) despised those who desired separation from England. 

The quote refers to the beast growing too large. This means that Washington has grown too powerful. In order to "tame" his power, Washington needs to be disposed of. Essentially, he needs to be assassinated. As Loyalists, the mayor and the Locktons, do not wish to separate from England. In order to try to keep English power in the new world, Washington needs to be stopped. That said, since not all of the people around are Loyalists, the Loyalists need to use a sort of code to insure that non-Loyalists do not come to find out their plans. 

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