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, March 28, 2015

Filling in the Hole in West’s Painting

Yesterday I showed an image of Benjamin West’s painting of the American diplomats who went to Paris to negotiate the end of the War for Independence.

As shown above, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay signed the treaty of peace with Great Britain. West also pictured Henry Laurens and William Temple Franklin, two other Americans involved in the negotiation. But he couldn’t get David Hartley to represent the British side he had signed for, so West abandoned the painting.

In the last few decades, at least two New England artists stepped in to fill that hole.
In 1983 the U.S. Postal Service commissioned a painting for a stamp commemorating then bicentennial of the treaty signing. David Blossom of Weston, Connecticut, created the image above, showing the treaty signers only—and Hartley from the rear. Esther Porter adapted the image for the stamp. Blossom’s original painting now belongs to Winterthur.
In the last decade, David R. Wagner of Scotland, Connecticut, undertook a series of paintings about events along the Rochambeau Revolutionary Route. To that he added an image of the Treaty of Paris, based on West’s original, but with Hartley inserted, reportedly based on other portraits.

Wagner’s painting was shown at the Carroll Museum in Baltimore and at Yorktown in 2008. Judging by the artist’s website, it is now available for purchase.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hartley and Franklin, Reunited in Paris

I’ve been writing about the on-again, off-again correspondence of Benjamin Franklin and David Hartley, British scientist and Member of Parliament. Their relationship actually turned out to be a factor in the end of the war.

After London received news of the Battle of Yorktown, Lord North’s government fell. In March 1782 power shifted to the Marquess of Rockingham, longtime leader of the opposition, with a mandate to bring the American War to a close before it cost even more money. Rockingham filled the post of prime minister for all of four months before he died of the flu.

The Earl of Shelburne, one of Rockingham’s secretaries of state, took over. He was already steering negotiations with the U.S. of A.’s European diplomats through his envoy, the merchant Robert Oswald. By November 1782 Oswald worked out preliminary articles of peace with Franklin in France.

Meanwhile, Rockingham’s other secretary of state, Charles James Fox, refused to serve under Shelburne. He led other Rockingham Whigs, such as Edmund Burke, out of government. (That created openings for such rising politicians as William Pitt, who became Chancellor of the Exchequer at the age of twenty-three; they didn’t call him “the Younger” for nothing.)

David Hartley had opposed the American War all along, but he also disliked Shelburne and voted against the preliminary articles for peace. Hartley was a Fox ally, and he also maintained a personal friendship with Lord North, despite their political differences.

In April 1783 Fox and North, longtime opponents, made a surprising alliance to force Shelburne out of power. Shortly afterwards, George III appointed Hartley the new negotiator with the Americans. Fox and North both trusted Hartley, and they thought his friendly correspondence with Franklin would help to finish the negotiations on favorable terms.

Hartley walked into a very complex situation since France, Spain, and the U.S., though formally allied and bound to negotiate together, were all secretly angling for their own advantages and undercutting each other. Though there weren’t any more major campaigns on the North American continent, naval battles in the Caribbean and the siege of Gibraltar were still going on, tipping the balance of power and affecting different nations’ hunger for peace.

The Americans in Paris insisted on making very few changes to the terms they had reached with Oswald. If Hartley wasn’t going to sign over Canada, they weren’t about to concede anything else. France and Spain, meanwhile, thought the Shelburne ministry’s agreement to give the new American republic land all the way west to the Mississippi River was quite generous already.

In the end, the Treaty of Paris was basically what Oswald had negotiated eight months earlier. Hartley had voted against those terms, but his main contribution to the final treaty was the “Paris” part—he refused to leave the city for Versailles. On 3 Sept 1783, Hartley signed the final Treaty of Paris on behalf of Great Britain. Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay signed on behalf of the U.S.

(The picture above is Benjamin West’s famous unfinished canvas of the American diplomats involved in the negotiations in Paris. Hartley declined to pose.)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

“I have therefore been backward in Writing”

As I described yesterday, in late 1775 David Hartley, an opposition Member of Parliament, sent two letters to Benjamin Franklin proposing an unlikely way to reconcile Britain’s central government and the rebellious North American colonies. The Crown would pull back its tough laws on Massachusetts and the colonies would guarantee all slaves the right to trial by jury.

In The House of Commons: 1754-1790, Lewis Bernstein Namier and John Brooke called Hartley’s proposal “a tribute both to his benevolence and naïvety”:
It never occurred to Hartley that even if the British Parliament could be induced to pass such an Act, it would merely be regarded in America as one more example of British tyranny.
Franklin must have been savvy enough to know that. So how did he respond?

He didn’t. The next surviving letter from Franklin to Hartley was sent from Passy, France, in 1777, over a year later. It began:
I received duly your Letter of May 2nd. 77. including a Copy of one you had sent me the Year before, which never came to hand, and which it seems has been the Case with some I wrote to you from America.
This is the equivalent of “Your email never arrived, something must have gone wrong with my emails, let’s start over.” Which, given the wartime conditions, was quite plausible.

But then Franklin protested a little more:
Filled tho’ our Letters have always been, with Sentiments of Good Will to both Countries, and earnest Desires of preventing their Ruin, and promoting their mutual Felicity, I have been apprehensive that if it were known a Correspondence subsisted between us, it might be attended with Inconvenience to you. I have therefore been backward in Writing, not caring to trust the Post, and not well knowing, who else to trust with my Letters. But being now assured of a safe Conveyance, I venture to write to you, especially as I think the Subject such a one as you may receive a Letter upon without Censure.
Which at least opens the door to another explanation: Franklin found Hartley’s letters so impolitic and impractical that he just didn’t make a priority of responding.

Either way, Franklin started right up where his last extant letter had left off, complaining about how badly the Crown was treating the colonies:
She has given us by her numberless Barbarities, in the Prosecution of the War, and in the Treatment of Prisoners, (by her Malice in bribing Slaves, to murder their Masters, and Savages to Massacre the Families of Farmers, with her Baseness in rewarding the unfaithfulness of Servants, and debauching the Virtue of honest Seamen, entrusted with our Property,) so deep an Impression of her Depravity, that we never again can trust her in the Management of our Affairs, and Interests.
Once again, even though Hartley had advocated more rights for enslaved people and eventual abolition, all Franklin had to say about slaves was that the British army was encouraging them to revolt. His personal opposition to slavery was growing, but at this point he was writing as a diplomatic representative of the U.S. of A.

In fact, by the time the two men resumed their correspondence, Hartley was advocating that Parliament ban the trans-Atlantic slave trade. He was the first British abolitionist to propose such a law. It took another generation for that idea to take hold.

TOMORROW: Hartley and Franklin meet again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

David Hartley’s Bright Idea

After my talk at Longfellow House–Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site earlier this month, there was a long and lively question-and-answer session. And one question I didn’t have a great answer for. So I went home and looked up more stuff.

The question was about a suggestion made to Benjamin Franklin that American governments should guarantee slaves the right to trial by jury. How did that idea arise, and how did Franklin respond?

I looked in the Franklin Papers at Founders Online, and sure enough, a British Member of Parliament proposed that step to Franklin in late 1775. That M.P. was David Hartley (1730-1813, shown here), already introduced on Boston 1775 as the most boring speaker in the House of Commons.

Hartley became acquainted with Franklin in London through their mutual interest in science. He was elected to Parliament for the first time in late 1774. When Franklin headed home to Philadelphia, Hartley suggested they correspond regularly to share ideas about how to reconcile the Crown and the colonies. Because nobody was in a better position to solve the imperial crisis than a rookie lawmaker on the far side of the political opposition.

On joining the Continental Congress, Franklin sent Hartley letters laying out the standard American position, which would later inform the Declaration of Independence. For instance, on 12 September he wrote:
Your Nation must stop short, and change its Measures, or she will lose the Colonies for ever. The Burning of Towns, and firing from Men of War on defenceless Cities and Villages fill’d with Women and Children: The exciting the Indians to fall on our innocent Back Settlers, and our Slaves to murder their Masters; are by no means Acts of a legitimate Government: they are of barbarous Tyranny and dissolve all Allegiance.
Hartley replied on 14 November with a detailed plan for compromise by the two sides. To be more exact, Hartley sent Franklin a letter signed “G.B.” which said it was merely passing on ideas from “Your friend Mr. Hartley.” The first step, he agreed, was for Parliament to suspend three of the Coercive Acts: the Massachusetts Government Act, the Boston Port Bill, and the Administration of Justice Act. The next step:
To pass an act to establish the right of trial by jury to all Slaves in America and to annull all Laws in any Province repugnant thereto, and to require the enrollment of the said act by the respective assemblies of each Province in North America. . . .

I have consulted several American Gentlemen, who have all expressed themselves as confident that America would not hesitate to comply to the act of Jury to slaves, if they could be assured by their compliance with such an act of parliament, that they could secure to themselves restoration to their condition in 1763. It would be a satisfaction to receive some respectable or authentic opinion from America upon that subject.
Why trial by jury? I suspect that was the most basic right in British Whig thought, rooted in Anglo-Saxon legal traditions, not dependent on a person’s property or gender, and available even to criminal defendants. Establishing that right for enslaved blacks would start them on the stairs to more rights.

One wonders who the “several American Gentlemen” Hartley consulted were, because the only initiative in 1775 less likely than convincing Parliament to relax its strictures on Massachusetts (where an actual war had broken out) was to convince American slaveholders to give their human property more rights.

Nevertheless, Hartley thought well enough of his plan to repeat it in another letter to Franklin on 23 November. And on 7 December, well before he could have heard back from America, he brought his ideas to the House of Commons, explaining at length:
The object of the act of Parliament to be proposed to America may be perhaps in the event the abolition, but at present can only be considered as the first step to correct a vice, which has spread through the continent of North-America, contrary to tbe laws of God and man, and to the fundamental principles of the British Constitution. That vice is slavery.

It would be infinitely absurd to send over to America an act to abolish slavery at one word, because, however repugnant the practice may be to the laws of morality or policy, yet to expel an evil which has spread so far, and which has been suffered far such a length of time, requires information of facts and circumstances, and the greatest discretion to root it out; and, moreover, the necessary length of settling such a point would defeat the end of its being proposed as an act of compromise to settle the present troubles; therefore, the act to be proposed to America as an auspicious beginning to lay the first stone of universal liberty to mankind, should be what no American could hesitate an instant to comply with, viz: That every slave in North-America should be entitled to his trial by jury in all criminal cases.

America cannot refuse to accept and to enroll such an act as this, and thereby to re-establish peace and harmony with the parent State. Let us all be reunited in this, as a foundation to extirpate slavery from the face of the earth. Let those who seek justice and liberty for themselves, give that justice and liberty to their fellow-creatures.

With respect to the idea of putting a final period to slavery in North-America, it should seem best, that when this country had led the way by the act for jury, that each Colony, knowing their own peculiar circumstances, should undertake the work in the most practicable way, and that they should endeavour to establish some system, by which slavery should be in a certain term of years abolished. Let the only contention henceforward between Great Britain and America be, which shall exceed the other in zeal for establishing the fundamental rights of liberty to all mankind.
Hartley then moved for a vote on his idea. The vote was overwhelmingly negative.

TOMORROW: And what did Franklin say about Hartley’s proposal?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Limits on Fatal Violence in Boston, 1765-1774

Though Boston earned a reputation as a riotous town in the ten years after the first public Stamp Act protests of 1765, those Boston rioters never killed anyone.

A mob did ruin Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson’s North End mansion in 1765, and damaged several other royal officials’ houses in the same months. In 1768, the Customs service’s seizure of John Hancock’s ship Liberty prompted another crowd to manhandle three Customs officials.

The next year, Bostonians learned the ritual of tarring and feathering, which they inflicted on several lower-level Customs employees over the next few years. But those actions all stopped short of killing people.

There are examples from elsewhere in New England of fatal, or nearly fatal, resistance to the Crown. In April 1769, as detailed here, sailors out of Marblehead resisting impressment into the Royal Navy killed Lt. Henry Panton at sea.

During the Gaspée seizure of 1772, the Rhode Islanders storming that Royal Navy vessel shot its commander, Lt. William Dudingston, in the chest—which sure sounds like he could have been killed. But he survived with medical care. Guns were also fired, though not hitting anyone, during some rural demonstrations against mandamus Council members in the fall of 1774.

One might argue that the lack of fatalities in Boston riots was only a matter of luck. There were some close calls:
  • After Ebenezer Richardson shot Christopher Seider on 22 Feb 1770, he was nearly lynched by an angry crowd. The Whig leader William Molineux insisted on taking the unpopular Customs employee to a magistrate for indictment.
  • Later that year, a crowd frightened importer Patrick McMaster with tar and feathers so badly he collapsed.
  • In 1774, a mob attacked John Malcolm, yet another Customs employee, after he clubbed George Robert Twelves Hewes. That attack lasted for hours, and involved choking Malcolm with a noose as well as beating, whipping, and tarring and feathering him. But he survived.
In addition, Hutchinson felt that his nephew Nathaniel Rogers was hounded to an untimely death in 1770.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that during those tumultuous years no Crown official, soldier, or supporter was killed in political violence in Boston. In contrast, during a month-long stretch of early 1770 employees of the royal government shot dead four men and two boys, and wounded several more. A big reason for that difference was that Bostonians didn’t use guns in their conflicts, preferring to intimidate their opponents through numbers.

On 18 Oct 1774, an angry sailor named Samuel Dyer broke that pattern. He attacked two Royal Artillery officers at noon on Boston’s main street, firing pistols at their heads. Both his guns misfired, but the army naturally saw Dyer’s actions as an escalation.

I’ll talk about Dyer, his claims of mistreatment, what the record actually shows, and how his assault with deadly weapons might have started the American War off quite differently at this Saturday’s History Camp.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Anderson on Marblehead Furniture Makers and Buyers, 26 Mar.

On Thursday, 26 March, at 7:00 P.M. the Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem will host a free talk by Judy Anderson on “Eighteenth-Century Furniture Craftsmanship and Patronage in Marblehead.”

This talk is in conjunction with the Peabody Essex Museum’s exhibit of work by the Salem cabinetmaker Nathaniel Gould, which closes on 29 March. As noted back here, when genealogist Joyce King and furniture expert Kemble Widmer spotted Gould’s account books in the papers of his attorney at the Massachusetts Historical Society, they were able to match existing examples of Gould’s work with specific sales, shedding new light on both his business and his art.

One of Gould’s most important clients in the years just before the Revolutionary War was the wealthy merchant Jeremiah Lee, who was furnishing his home across the harbor in Marblehead. Anderson has been curator of the Jeremiah Lee Mansion, and in 2003 she collaborated with Widmer on a study of his town’s cabinetmakers. Her fully illustrated talk will explore furniture craftsmanship and patronage in Gould’s time. It includes “some remarkable surprises uncovered by the Gould research and several stories of compelling social history.”

Anderson will deliver the same talk on Friday, 27 March, at 11:00 A.M. at the Salem Athenaeum. For that event, she suggests $5 or $10 donations to benefit the Athenaeum.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Stamp Act Approved by King, Leading to a Change of Government

On 22 Mar 1765, the Stamp Act for North America received the royal sign-off necessary before becoming law. However, George III never approved the bill. He approved of it, it’s clear, but in March 1765 when the bill reached that stage he was ill and confined to his room. Therefore, a special royal commission approved the Stamp Act for the king.

That process led to the fall of George Grenville’s ministry—but not because the Stamp Act kicked up so much opposition in America, much as we might like to believe that. Grenville was replaced before those protests became widespread.

Instead, this is how Edward Baines described the situation in his History of the Reign of George III (1820):
This event impressed upon his majesty’s mind the propriety of appointing some individual, who might, in case of the royal demise, exercise the functions of royalty during the minority of the Prince of Wales. The troubles in which the country had been involved by regencies obnoxious to the parliament and the nation, induced the king to desire parliamentary sanction to his appointment; and for the attainment of this object he went to the house of peers on his recovery, and recommended the two houses to pass a bill, enabling him to vest the regency in the hands of some one personage, from any number which parliament might nominate, with a council composed of individuals, whose relationship, offices, or rank might render them fit advisers to the regent.

The house of peers accordingly passed a bill, empowering his majesty to appoint as regent, the queen, or any member of the royal family, by which was meant only the descendants of George II. usually residing in Great Britain, till the Prince of Wales attained the age of eighteen years. The council whom they appointed was composed of the Dukes of York and Gloucester, his majesty’s brothers; the Duke of Cumberland, his uncle; Princes Henry Frederick and Frederick William, his youngest brothers; and the chief officers of state tor the time being.

By these provisions, the Princess of Wales, his majesty’s mother, was excluded from the number of those who might be appointed regent, as well as from the council.
In some quarters, whispers held that the king’s mother [shown above] was already guiding him, on her own and through his former tutor and first choice for chief minister, the Earl of Bute. Some folks even suggested that the Princess of Wales and Bute had been having an affair.

After the 1763 Treaty of Paris, Bute’s opponents had complained that he was too lenient on France and Spain. Bute had resigned, to the king’s dismay, and his deputy Grenville took over. Bute and Grenville had basically the same policies, but the king never liked his new prime minister personally.

Back to Baines on the regency bill and the Princess of Wales:
In the house of commons,…Lord Bute’s influence was sufficient to procure her nomination as one of the personages eligible for the regency; but this compliment was paid with so indifferent a grace, that it was not proposed to add her name to the list of the council, and the bill, with its amendment, being returned to the lords, was agreed to and passed.

The conduct of ministers on this occasion was considered by the Princess of Wales as a studied insult towards herself; and the downfall of the administration, which had been long anticipated, became now no longer doubtful.
Here’s the text of the final bill. One lesson from this episode seems to be that if you’re worried about the king’s mother having too much power, you’d better make sure you can cut her off, or else she’ll take you down.

In July, George III offered the prime minister’s job to the Marquess of Rockingham, heretofore the leader of the opposition in the House of Lords. I guess the king figured if he wasn’t going to get along with the chief minister, it might as well be about politics instead of personalities.

That led to five years of Whig reformers sharing power in London. North Americans expected the London government to be a lot more friendly to them, and Rockingham did repeal the Stamp Act. But he and his successors saw the same needs as Grenville to maintain Parliament’s sovereignty and raise money from the colonies.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Mohegan Woman’s Deathbed Remarks

A recent issue of the Yale magazine offered a look at a newly recognized document in the handwriting of the Rev. Samson Occom. Apparently in 1776 he took down the deathbed statement of a young woman:
That December, a daughter of Mohegan leader Robert Ashbow, motivated by a religious vision, returned home after what appears to have been a long absence. By the end of the month, the young woman was dying. On Christmas Eve, Occom wrote an account of the last moments of her life, which included a conversation with her mother. (The daughter’s name, unfortunately, is never given.)

The beginning is typical for Christian deathbed narratives—a confirmation of belief in God and an acceptance of death. But then the woman declares, “No one that fights Shall ever enter the Kingdom of Heaven, nor them that Cary Sharp Weapons and Heavy things for the first Christians did not fight but were Loving.” She adds that her aunt Hannah thought herself “better and above” Hannah’s daughter-in-law, Jerusha, but Jerusha had “better inheritance.” These are unusual, unexplained statements.

At first, we thought “inheritance” referred to spiritual redemption. But as we reconstructed the lives of the people in the narrative, another explanation seemed plausible. Hannah’s husband, we found, was Rev. Samuel Ashbow, Robert Ashbow’s brother. The couple had lost one of their sons, Samuel Jr., at Bunker Hill—the first Native American killed in the Revolution. For Hannah and Samuel, that death would begin their family tragedy: they would lose three more sons before the war was over. On the other hand, Jerusha, the widow of Samuel Jr., had a young son whose life was just beginning. Were the dying woman’s remarks a comment on the futility of war? A portent of the immense physical and cultural losses the Mohegans would endure as a result of that war?
Did they reflect that particular moment during the war in late 1776, when the royal forces were handily dispatching the Continental Army and armed resistance seemed like a poor idea? With so few written sources preserved, we‘re unlikely to have the answers to those questions.

The same magazine also notes a rare harpsichord from about 1770 that somebody decided to make look like an even rarer harpsichord from several decades before.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Freedom’s Way Conference in Concord, 26-28 March

This is the last day to register for the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area’s three-day conference on interpreting “Community Character and Common Themes” in local history.

This event will take place in Concord, 26-28 March, and use that historic town as a laboratory to investigate engaging ways to interpret the meaning and memory of place.

The conference description says:
In a rapidly globalized increasingly homogeneous world, it is the character of the places in which we live that define us. Local stories and places provide a lens through which to develop community identity and sense of place. The conference will explore the intimate link between discovery and interpretation as a means of bringing local stories to life within individual communities, connecting them to themes within the National Heritage Area.
John R. Stilgoe, Harvard University’s Robert & Lois Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape, will deliver the keynote address, “Verandas and Dooryards: Observing Landscape Close to Home.” Historian Bill Fowler of Northeastern University will speak on how regional history shapes the way we think. Case studies, presentations, and round tables will explore best practices in interpretation and educational programming using local resources.

The organizers are offering behind-the-scenes tours of The Wayside at Minute Man National Historical Park, The Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods, The Old Manse (shown above), and other historic locations in Concord.

This conference is aimed to counteract a common challenge for local historical societies and small sites: focusing on local places, artifacts, and stories so closely as to omit the connections with other sites in neighboring towns that, when woven together, can tell a larger story that’s still grounded in the local communities. For example, every Massachusetts town has its own story of citizens responding to the Massachusetts Government Act of 1774 and deciding whether to switch allegiance (and tax funds) to the extralegal Massachusetts Provincial Congress. Together those stories add up to a mass movement and a governmental revolution in the province.

As a sign of how many different organizations are involved in this event, the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area is working in partnership with the U.S. National Park Service, Minute Man National Historical Park, Boston National Historical Park, John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, American Antiquarian Society, The Drinking Gourd Project, Fitchburg Art Museum, The Guild of Historic Interpreters, Mass Audubon Society, Nashua River Watershed Association, New England Scenic Trails, The Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods, The Thoreau Society, The Trustees of Reservations, Walden Pond State Reservation (DCR), and Wachusett Mountain State Reservation (DCR).

As I said above, registration closes 20 March, and space is limited. The full conference costs $30, and cheaper registration is available for certain days only. Click the link above for more information.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Women to Meet at the Shirley-Eustis House this Spring

This spring the Shirley-Eustis House in Roxbury is hosting a series of first-person interpretive presentations on women of Revolutionary Boston and later periods.

Sunday, 22 March, 2:00 P.M.
Meet Phillis Wheatley
Valerie Link Foxx kicks off the series with a poignant first-person performance of the life of Phillis Wheatley. Brought to Boston from Africa at about the age of seven, little Phillis learned English so quickly that she was composing impressive verse while she was still in her teens. As a young woman she pursued literary success with a trip to London even while she was still enslaved, then personal independence as an author, wife, and mother in Boston.

Foxx is an actor, author, wife, and mother. She is also a native of Roxbury and has performed since the age of seven. In 1977, Valerie and her mother, Bernice Link, co-founded Link & Foxx Productions to produce one-woman and family skits and stage plays.

Sunday, 29 March, 2:00 P.M.
Meet Rachel Revere—Petticoats at the Revolution
Hear a remarkable story of tea and Revolution from the woman who rode through life with Paul Revere. Rachel Revere tells of the Boston Tea Party, the midnight ride, and the siege of Boston through the eyes of a woman who had to keep the home fires burning while her husband fanned the flames of Revolution.

This presentation will be performed by Joan Gatturna, creator of Petticoat Adventures. Gatturna is an actor and storyteller. She has been named as a Creative Teaching Partner of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is on the Touring Roster of the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Sunday, 12 April, 2:00 P.M.
Meet Elizabeth Murray—Shopkeeper to Farmstead
Elizabeth Murray, a Scottish immigrant, developed a successful retail business in colonial Boston. By offering the latest fashions and teaching advanced crafts, and by insisting on prenuptial agreements in two of her three marriages, she achieved economic independence and became a mentor for younger women. Through the upheavals of the American Revolution, Elizabeth (Murray Campbell Smith) Inman faced the challenge of separating from Tory family members while maintaining her home in Massachusetts.

Una McMahon, Founder-Owner of Acorn Tours, provides customized sightseeing tours of Boston and New England and specializes in their rich colonial histories. She is a Governor/Board Member and the Chair of the Events Committee for the Shirley-Eustis House Association. McMahon has taught French Language, led student tours to France and Canada, and established organizations such the Irish Business Network Small Business Forum.

In addition, on 26 April Marcia Stein-Adams will present “Meet Isabella Stewart Gardner,” and on 3 May Jan Turnquist will offer “Meet Louisa May Alcott.”

Admission for each lecture is $10 per person.

(The copy of Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of Rachel Revere above comes courtesy of Oceansbridge.)