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, August 16, 2014

News from Newport

The Newport Historical Society is commemorating the city’s Stamp Act protests of late August 1765.

The society has created an online timeline of the protests, where the above clipping from the Newport Mercury comes from. The three effigies represented stamp agent (and Rhode Island attorney general) Augustus Johnston and two men who had written in favor of the law and stronger central authority, Dr. Thomas Moffatt and lawyer Martin Howard.

Today at 11:00 A.M., the Newport History Tours collaboration offers a walking tour titled “The Stamp Act Riot and the Road to Revolution,” going past some of the sites involved in those protests. That costs $15 per person; call 401-841-8770 to see if there are still spaces.

Next Saturday, 23 August, starting at 1:00 P.M., a team of reenactors will stroll the Old Quarter of Newport, chatting with visitors about the new Stamp Act. In the late afternoon those pedestrians will congregate in front of the Colony House on Washington Square, and the action will escalate into a riot. Perhaps some houses will be mobbed, as in 1765.

Attending the outdoor reenactment is free, though the society welcomes any donations. Immediately afterward, from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M., the society with host a Stamp Act party; admission to that is $25, or $20 for members, and presumably there will be no mobbing.

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