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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Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Talks to Take in about the Townshend Tariffs

This month’s Lowell Lecture Series at the Old South Meeting House, presented by the Paul Revere Memorial Association, focuses on how the new duties of 1767 roiled the British Empire. The series is titled “Lead, Glass, Paper, & Tea: The Townshend Acts and the Occupation of Boston.”

(That leaves out one category of dutied goods—painter’s colors. That really only affected specialized merchants like the Gore family. But since I spoke about the Gores at Old South a few years back, I feel obligated to stick up for their concerns.)

Here are the talks, starting tomorrow evening and continuing on each Wednesday.

5 September
“A certain sloop called the Liberty”: Charles Townsend, John Hancock & the Boston Madeira Party
On June 10, 1768, the King’s Commissioners of Customs seized John Hancock’s sloop Liberty and its smuggled cargo of Madeira wine. William Fowler, Jr., Distinguished Professor of History, Northeastern University, will describe how the Commissioners, fearing for their lives, fled to the safety of Castle William, while John Adams argued his case in defense of Hancock and Liberty at the Old State House.

12 September
Paul Revere’s Sons of Liberty Bowl: An American Icon
American patriot Paul Revere is wrapped in a swirling mixture of myth and poetry through which history often descends, but as a craftsman he left behind tangible traces as well. Gerald W. R. Ward, Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Emeritus, at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, will relate the story behind Revere’s Sons of Liberty Bowl, crafted in 1768 to commemorate the “Glorious 92” legislators who bravely opposed King and Parliament’s imposition of the Townshend Acts.

19 September
Liberty Teas and Nervous Collectors: The Townshend Acts in Boston
From the emergence of “homegrown” industries in response to British taxes on imports, to harassment of officials by the Sons of Liberty, the Townshend Acts set the stage for tensions that would erupt in 1770 with the Boston Massacre. Learn how these new laws impacted 18th-century Bostonians’ everyday life in an interactive, first-person presentation featuring costumed actors from the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum!

26 September
Tyranny Unmasked: The Townsend Acts in Britain, Ireland & America
The Townshend Acts marked a new radical phase in the crisis that eventually destroyed Britain’s American empire. Occupied Boston was the toast of radical patriots throughout George III’s dominions, and observers began to wonder whether Britain’s days as an imperial power were numbered. University of New Hampshire Professor of History Eliga Gould will tell the fascinating story of this transformation—as it appeared to Bostonians and from the standpoint of people on the far shores of the Atlantic.

All these talks are scheduled to begin at 6:30 P.M. They are free and open to the public, thanks to the historical organizations involved and the Lowell Institute.

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