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The Minutemen and the Rape of Boston

OK. This year has a lot of moving parts.

  • A Boston mob tars and feathers a customs agent, and pours hot tea down his throat. They wrap a rope around his neck and threaten to hang him from the Liberty Tree. Make no mistake... this customs agent is a total ass. He definitely deserves a beating, but he does not merit a hanging. He finally apologizes and resigns his post after they threaten to cut off his ears. [1]
  • Americans call it the Rape of Boston as the British Parliament passes the "Intolerable Acts". Boston Harbor is closed as a punishment for the Tea Party. A political cartoon shows the Earl of Sandwich lifting the skirt of "Boston" while Mother Britannia weeps. Parliament also suspends Massachusetts' royal charter, strengthens the Quartering Act and authorizes criminal trials of British officials to be held in England rather than the colonies. George Washington calls it "The Murder Act" since it lets British officials get away with murder. Washington is contemplating war. [2] [3]
  • The First Continental Congress meets to petition the King but what they get are the Minutemen, and a successful boycott of British goods. They recognize the Committees of Safety as legitimate authorities to raise militias. Even though the colonies already have militias, the Congress sees the need for a private militia that can be gathered quickly. Thus the Minutemen are formed. [4]
  • General Gage arrives in the Colonies to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock, and to cow the colonists. The number of Minutemen increases dramatically. [5] [6]
  • The women of Edenton throw a Tea Party. They join Boston in boycotting English tea. They say, "It is a duty that we owe, not only to our near and dear connections... but to ourselves." It is one of the first women's political protests in America. The English press mocks them as old biddies. [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Remember that communication between the colonies often took weeks. Also, violent agitation was a necessary part of the success of the American Revolution, but Benjamin Franklin and John Adams opposed violent agitation. They felt that it delegitimatized the cause for independence... which it did. On the other hand, if John Adam's plan for a legitimate, principled and legal transition to independence had been followed, we would still be arguing about it. FYI, the British originally called the colonists "Americans" as an insult, but the colonists grew to like it so the label stuck.

Johnny Appleseed is Born

Johnny Appleseed

He is born John Chapman but he will best be known as Johnny Appleseed. Born in the midst of the American Revolution, his mother will die while his father is away fighting. Years later Johnny will apprentice to an orchard-grower where he will learn about tending apples. In these days, apples are used mostly for making applejack... an alcoholic beverage made from apple cider. "Jacking" is a method of freezing or evaporating in order to "jack up" the concentration of alcohol. It is safer than drinking water, especially in areas where water purity is questionable. People don't know about germs yet, but the alcohol kills off most of the germs that make people sick. (FYI, Puritans drink it and kids too. It is considered right and proper.) Johnny Appleseed will wander through Western Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley in the early 1800s setting up apple tree nurseries. He will use grafting as a method of propagating good apples... not planting random apple seeds. He will sell shares in the nurseries on a per-tree basis to colonists coming across the Allegheny Mountains. The colonists will tend them and he will return yearly to collect his share. Yes. It will be a business... a growing business with benefits for all. That is how he will gain such a good reputation. He will also do a bit of preaching. He will make a little money at this business and by the time he passes away, it will be a going concern, worth millions to his sister who will inherit it. Many of his established orchards will survive into the modern day. [8] [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Applejack today is not always a concentrated hard cider. It is sometimes an apple brandy, so pay attention to what you are drinking. In Texas, it is legal for a parent to serve his children alcohol such as wine or (I assume) applejack, but it is illegal for anyone else to do so even with the parent's written permission. Assume nothing. Check with your local authorities on the laws concerning minors using alcohol. They usually allow the small amounts used for ritual purposes, but I've caught kids in the kitchen chugging what was left in those little cups after the ceremony so keep an eye on those rascals if it bothers you.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1774, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. John Malcolm (Loyalist) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 April 2016. “The crowd then took him to the Liberty Tree and told him to apologize for his behavior and renounce his customs commission. When Malcolm refused, the crowd put a rope around his neck and threatened to hang him. This did not break him, but when they threatened to cut off his ears, Malcolm relented and was sent home.”
  2. File:RapeBoston.jpg - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 27 April 2016. “From the London Magazine, May 1, 1774. British Cartoon Collection. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-5289. Prime Minister Lord North, author of the Boston Port Bill, forces the 'Intolerable Acts,' or tea, down the throat of America, a vulnerable Indian woman whose arms are restrained by Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, while Lord Sandwich, a notorious womanizer, pins down her feet and peers up her skirt. Behind them, Mother Britannia weeps helplessly. This British cartoon was quickly copied and distributed by Paul Revere”
  3. Intolerable Acts - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 27 April 2016. “George Washington called this the 'Murder Act' because he believed that it allowed British officials to harass Americans and then escape justice. Many colonists believed the act was unnecessary because British soldiers had been given a fair trial following the Boston Massacre in 1770.”
  4. Minutemen - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 April 2016. “Just before the American Revolutionary War, on October 26, 1774, after observing the British military buildup, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress found the colony's militia resources short, and that 'including the sick and absent, it amounted to about 17,000 men, far short of the number wanted, that the council recommended an immediate application to the New England governments to make up the deficiency,' resolving to organize the militia better:”
  5. Minutemen - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 27 April 2016. “The royal authorities inadvertently gave the new Minuteman mobilization plans validation by several 'show the flag' demonstrations by General Gage through 1774.”
  6. Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance That Forged America. Sourcebooks, Inc.. “In the middle of this explosive situation, General Thomas Gage arrived in Boston on May 13, with orders from the king "to repel force and violence by every means within his reach." Gage replaced the defeated Thomas Hutchinson and had additional instructions to arrest patriot leaders John Hancock and Samuel Adams.” 
  7. Edenton Tea Party - North Carolina History Project. northcarolinahistory.org (2016). Retrieved on 27 April 2016. “The women of Edenton signed an agreement saying they were 'determined to give memorable proof of their patriotism' and could not be 'indifferent on any occasion that appears nearly to affect the peace and happiness of our country . . . it is a duty that we owe, not only to our near and dear connections . . . but to ourselves.'”
  8. Who Was Johnny Appleseed? About.com
  9. Note: According to Michael Pollan in The Botany of Desire, most settlers planted apple orchards mainly for the hard cider that resulted from pressing. Known as "applejack," this drink was a staple of Puritan times and beyond, as much of the water was often tainted or unpotable.
  10. Applejack (beverage) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 27 April 2016. “Applejack was historically made by concentrating cider, either by the traditional method of freeze distillation or by true evaporative distillation.”
  11. The Straight Dope: What's the story with Johnny Appleseed?. straightdope.com (2004). Retrieved on 27 April 2016. “Back to Johnny Appleseed. John Chapman was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, on September 26, 1774, the son of Nathaniel Chapman, a farmer and carpenter and later one of the 'Minute Men' who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill and elsewhere. His mother died in 1776. His father remarried and the family moved to Longmeadow, Massachusetts, along the Connecticut River. He had a half-sister, but there is no authenticated account of his childhood.”

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