Neither Paul Revere nor William Dawes received news of the Regulars' advance by signal lanterns. In his classic "Paul Revere's Ride," published in 1861, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow exercised considerable poetic license with his legendary "One if by land, two if by sea" drama. Revere, "impatient to mount and ride," pats his horse, gazes across the landscape, and stamps the earth, fretfully passing the time for sixteen lines until he ﬁnally spots two lanterns in the steeple of Old North Church. Twenty years ago David Hackett Fischer laid this tale to rest, but the take-away from Fischer's meticulous deconstruction of the legend, in popular accounts and several modern textbooks, is merely that Revere did not ride alone: Dawes rode as well, they say, and some even mention Samuel Prescott.
The “American Political Society” to be serialized on Twitter starting July 1st
The American Political Society was established in 1773 in Worcester, Massachusetts, by Col. Timothy Bigelow (1739-1790) as an extension of the Committee of Correspondence. It was a secret society of 71 Worcester Whigs who organized for the purpose of debating “upon … our rights and liberties” and determining “methods to be pursued” in securing them. The Society held monthly meetings at a public house, usually the inn of Asa Ward (1748-1818), and eventually assumed control of town meetings and instructed the moderator and the representative to the General Court. The organization became a potent means of defeating the influence of Worcester Loyalists. The Society apparently disbanded due to internal frictions and the more immediate demands of revolutionary resistance.
The series from the records of the American Political Society for the period 27 December 1773 to 20 May 1776, now in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, include a statement of purpose, rules and regulations, a list of members, and minutes of each meeting. The minutes detail such activities as boycott agreements following enactment of the Boston Port Bill in 1774; the provision of two pounds of gunpowder for each member; the assumption of fines levied by the British against any member for his “resistance” activities; and organized protest against Peter Oliver (1713-1791) as Chief Justice of the Superior Court.
This is an opportunity to read the minutes of one of the most radical groups in Colonial America to see how it affected both the Town Governments of central Massachusetts as well as the Worcester Revolution and our seperation from Great Britian.