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Forming a Shadow Government

A number of letters between Governor Hutchinson and his advisors have come into the possession of Benjamin Franklin. According to Hutchinson, the colonies will NEVER be granted liberty. The American pursuit of equality as Englishmen is a fool's errand. When confronted with his letters, Hutchinson is evasive, so John Hancock has them published. Meanwhile, in the backroom of the Boston Gazette, Samuel Adams is planning the Boston Tea Party. The tea is consigned to Governor Hutchinson and sons. Adams sees an opportunity to destroy Hutchinson financially and force a war between Great Britain and America. But if there is going to be a war, there will also be an "after-the-war". In almost every revolution of the past, there has NOT been a plan for "AFTER-THE-WAR". To avoid disunity and a bloody fight for power, Committees of Safety are organized out of the Committees of Correspondence. They are local shadow governments, meeting in churches, homes and MOSTLY TAVERNS! Their goal is to identify royalists, push them out of key positions and substitute patriots. It is not pretty, but it is better than a stick-in-the-eye or a knife-in-the-back. Know what I mean? [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
If you think that the current political fighting is rough, it is NOTHING compared to the load of stuff going on BEFORE the American Revolution and, AFTER the Revolution too. British ships carried away royalists to avoid the anticipated reprisals and purges. Certainly, royalists suffered, but it was mild in comparison to other revolutions. Over time, the royalists returned. The French Revolution was an example of having no plan for after-the-war. Thomas Paine almost lost his head in France. He was good at agitating but not planning. In the modern day the Reverend Martin Luther King had a dream and a plan. Things didn't "just happen." Rosa Parks didn't just "sit on a bus." That was not spontaneous any more than the Boston Tea Party was. The picture of Walter Gadsden leaning into those Birmingham police dogs told a story of a thousand words but not one of those words was true! He said in an interview that he was not submitting to an attack. He was kneeing that dog in the throat. Seeing is not always believing. [4] [5] [6]

Harrison Collects the Money but Not the Longitude Prize

The English Longitude Board has placed even more conditions on winning the prize. It is clear that the Board intends that John Harrison die of old age before he can collect the prize money for his invention, the marine chronometer. Board members think that using astronomical tables and taking astronomical measurements is better. (Why? Because they are ASTRONOMERS!) King George the 3rd is a science enthusiast and takes pity on John Harrison. The King arranges for him to appear before Parliament to make his case. It awards him the money he is owed. It is not the Longitude Prize but it is the money. It will have to be enough. John Harrison has done what Sir Isaac Newton said could not be done, created a time piece durable enough to be used aboard ship, and accurate enough for calculating a ship's position at sea. Harrison will die three years later at the age of 83. [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
John Harrison could have won the award years earlier, but he kept perfecting the chronometer, making it smaller and smaller until it could be held in the hand. During those years, the membership of the Longitude Board changed and the chairman of the Board was in competition with Harrison for the prize... obviously a conflict of interest. In fact, he sabotaged one of Harrison's earlier chronometers. Despite the politics and back-biting, both methods are useful for navigation in the modern day. Coincidentally, in 1773, Nathaniel Bowditch was born. He will author a book on navigation that is required reading in the modern day and a copy of his book is still carried on every US Navy vessel. The book is entitled, The New American Practical Navigator published in 1802. When Bowditch died, the first full-sized bronze statue in the United States was erected in his honor. [8]

Important Events

  • British Company Rule in India begins. The capital is in Calcutta. Parliament reorganizes the East India Company. [9]
  • Benjamin Franklin publishes the Rules By Which A Great Empire May Be Reduced To A Small One. It reads like the satirical question, "How do you make a million dollars in the airline industry?" Answer: "Start with 10 million." [10]
  • The Boston Tea Party. Samuel Adams leads colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians onto British East India ships and dump their cargo of tea into the bay. it's not the only place that tea is dumped but it is the best remembered. (Please see previous history segments for additional information on the Boston Tea Party.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1773, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Alex Shrugged notes: Samuel Adams' father was also named Samuel. Samuel the Father and his partners had opened a land-bank but legislation backed by British bankers killed the land-bank. Hutchinson had supported the legislation, but it is doubtful if Hutchinson's support was critical. Nevertheless, Samuel the Son blamed Hutchinson, and Samuel the Son kept grudges until they died of old age and had them stuffed and placed on the mantle.
  2. Lecky, William Edward Hartpole. American Revolution, 1763-1783, The. D. Appleton and company. “According to another account, Hancock, one of the leading patriots, took "advantage of the implied permission of Hutchinson" to have copies made. Hutchinson had indeed been challenged with the letters, and been asked for copies of them and of such others as he should think proper to communicate. After some delay, he answered evasively, "If you desire copies with a view to make them public, the originals are more proper for the purpose than the copies," and this sentence appears to have been considered a sufficient authorisation. The letters were accordingly printed and scattered broadcast over the colonies.” 
  3. Committee of correspondence - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 18 February 2016. “The Committees of Correspondence were shadow governments organized by the Patriot leaders of the Thirteen Colonies on the eve of the American Revolution. They coordinated responses to England and shared their plans; by 1773 they had emerged as shadow governments, superseding the colonial legislature and royal officials. The Maryland Committee of Correspondence was instrumental in setting up the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia. These served an important role in the Revolution, by disseminating the colonial interpretation of British actions between the colonies and to foreign governments. The committees of correspondence rallied opposition on common causes and established plans for collective action, and so the group of committees was the beginning of what later became a formal political union among the colonies.”
  4. 1794: Not Thomas Paine. ExecutedToday.com (2016). Retrieved on 26 April 2016. “On this date in 1794, revolutionary firebrand Thomas Paine got a date with the guillotine when the public prosecutor Antoine-Quentin Fouquier-Tinville put his name on the list for the next batch of heads.”
  5. Birmingham - Iconic Photos (2010). Retrieved on 26 April 2016. “Gadsden had his gaze lowered not because of passivity, but because the gaze was on the dog, whom he would subsequently attack. Middleton was not setting his dog on Gadsden but separating the dog away from Gadsden. Hudson’s photo captures the moment as Gadsden plunges his left knee into the dog’s throat.”
  6. Rosa Parks - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 April 2016. “At the time, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. She had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for training activists for workers' rights and racial equality. She acted as a private citizen 'tired of giving in'.”
  7. Sobel, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. Walker & Company. ISBN 9780802715296. “This amount nearly totaled the remainder of the longitude prize due him, but it was not the coveted prize. Rather, the sum was a bounty awarded by the benevolence of Parliament--in spite of the Board of Longitude, instead of from it.” 
  8. Nathaniel Bowditch - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 April 2016. “He is often credited as the founder of modern maritime navigation; his book The New American Practical Navigator, first published in 1802, is still carried on board every commissioned U.S. Naval vessel.”
  9. Company rule in India - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 April 2016. “...in 1773, when the Company established a capital in Calcutta, appointed its first Governor-General, Warren Hastings, and became directly involved in governance.”
  10. Rules By Which A Great Empire May Be Reduced To A Small One - Wikisource, the free online library. en.wikisource.org (2016). Retrieved on 26 April 2016.

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