J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Why Is the Town of Boston Now Shut Up?

The Eighteenth-Century Reading Room blog offers a look at Connecticut governor Jonathan Trumbull’s 28 Apr 1775 letter to Gov. Thomas Gage, and Gage’s 3 May reply. Both letters were composed for public consumption, trying to grab the moral high ground after the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Basically, Trumbull asked, Why are you acting as if there were a war going on? And Gage answered, Why are you writing as if there weren’t?

Connecticut and Rhode Island were alone among Britain’s North American colonies in electing their governors. Massachusetts had had the same system at first settlement, but was later turned into a “royal” province. That meant its governor, like those in all the other colonies but its southern neighbors, was appointed by the ministry in London. The Connecticut and Rhode Island governors were therefore more independent of the Crown and more beholden to popular opinion. Trumbull kept right on being elected governor as Connecticut became independent.

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