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“To prosecute the Printer at Common Law”?

Yesterday I quoted the essay published in the 14 Nov 1771 Massachusetts Spy over the signature “Mucius Scævola.” It attacked Thomas Hutchinson, declaring him to be an illegitimate governor.(On what grounds? Mostly because Hutchinson was being paid by the London government with revenue from Parliament’s tea tax. Show More Summary

Thomas Hutchinson as “a monster in government”

You might think that getting through November meant the end of the saga of Gov. Thomas Hutchinson’s controversial 1771 Thanksgiving proclamation. But he wasn’t that lucky, and neither are we.On 14 November the actual holiday was still a week away, but the controversy was at its height in newspapers and meetinghouses. Show More Summary

John C. Calhoun, Roy Moore and a Monument to a “Crime Against Humanity”

Reports out of Charleston today indicate that the city’s commission to add a contextual panel to the John C. Calhoun has been finalized. Not surprising, this has been a contentious process from the beginning. It ended with the decision to remove what some people believe to be the most important reference to the monument as […]

Lt. Col. Matthew Van Buskirk

It’s been a very long time since my last post, and even longer since my last Forgotten Cavalrymen profile. I’ve been working on the February 11, 1865 Battle of Aiken, South Carolina, which will spur several of these profiles. Here’s the first one, of Lt. Show More Summary

The Legendary Words of Penelope Barker

Several recent books and websites quote Penelope Barker (shown here, courtesy of the Edenton Historical Commission), reputed organizer of the “Edenton Tea Party,” as making this statement about the event: Maybe it has only been men who have protested the king up to now. Show More Summary

“Patriotick Ladies, at Edenton in North Carolina”

Starting in late 1774, the British publishers Robert Sayer and John Bennett issued a series of five satirical prints about the political turmoil in North America. The mezzotint engravings are unsigned, but in 1908 R. T. H. Halsey identified the artist as Philip Dawe (1745?-1809?). Show More Summary

John Coski Explores Richmond’s Monument Avenue

Few people are better positioned in former capital of the Confederacy to discuss its commemorative landscape than John Coski. I always enjoy listening to John talk about the history of the city that he loves and knows so well. This is a very accessible and though provoking discussion that explores the history and memory of […]

A London Lad on the “Edenton ladies”

James Iredell (1751-1799, shown here) moved from England to America in 1767 in search of better prospects. Through family connections he got an office in the Customs service at the small port of Edenton, North Carolina. He also studied...Show More Summary

A Pledge from the Women of Edenton

On 25 Oct 1774, fifty-one women in Edenton, North Carolina, signed their names to a statement pledging to support the resolves of the colony’s provincial congress “not to drink any more tea, nor wear any more British cloth, &c.” TheShow More Summary

The Myth of Northern Unity

Myth might be too strong a word, but we have a tendency to minimize or overlook entirely the extent to which the loyal citizenry of the United States remained bitterly divided over key policies of the Lincoln administration, especially emancipation. Perhaps it would be more accurate to describe this as a blind spot. Our popular […]

How Long Have Facts Been Stubborn Things?

On 4 December 1770, John Adams wound up his speech in defense of the soldiers tried for murder after the Boston Massacre by saying: I will enlarge no more on the evidence, but submit it to you.—Facts are stubborn things; and whatever...Show More Summary

Boston in 1774 with Notes from Later

Cortney Skinner alerted me to this item in the New York Public Library’s digital images collection.It’s a leaf from Isaiah Thomas’s Royal American Magazine in early 1774 that featured Paul Revere’s engraving of the eastern shore of Boston...Show More Summary

The Confederate General Who Fought For Black Civil Rights

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about William Mahone over the past few months in light of the ongoing debate about Confederate monuments and the overall question of how we […]

A Remick on the Wall

Last night I attended a function at the Club of Odd Volumes on Beacon Hill. Between the many bookshelves, the clubhouse has a very impressive collection of eighteenth-century prints on its walls.I spotted the early view of Boston Common, a portrait of Gov. Show More Summary

Paul Revere House Seasonal Celebration, 2-3 Dec.

This weekend the Paul Revere House in Boston’s North End is hosting an event titled “Traditions of the Season.” The house invites visitors to:Learn about 17th-century Thanksgiving observances, hear 18th-century music, taste colonialShow More Summary

What To Do About Confederate Monuments? Ask the Kids

I recently returned from a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, where I spent time with a group of high school students contending with the ongoing debate over Confederate monuments. Over […]

The “Farmer” Starts to Speak 250 Years Ago

On 30 Nov 1767, two and a half centuries ago today, the Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser began to publish the series of essays signed “A Farmer.”Those essays were quickly picked up by other printers, first in Philadelphia and then in other American ports. Show More Summary

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 11/29

Kristin Brill ed., The Diary of a Civil War Bride: Lucy Wood Butler of Virginia (Louisiana State University Press, 2017). William C. Cooper, The Lost Founding Father: John Quincy Adams […]

The Thanksgiving Proclamation at Old South

The controversy over Gov. Thomas Hutchinson’s Thanksgiving proclamation in 1771 caused particular trouble in Boston’s largest meetinghouse, the Old South. That church had not had a placid year. In 1769 its minister, the Rev. Samuel Blair, had suddenly resigned and moved out of the colony. Show More Summary

My 2017 Best Picks for The Civil War Monitor

Thanks once again to Terry Johnston for inviting me to share a few of my favorite Civil War books from 2017 with the readers of The Civil War Monitor. This […]

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