Massachusetts Historical Society
America's oldest historical society, founded 1791.

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"We hear that there was held two or three evenings ago, an assembly of Ladies ..."

We hear that there was held two or three evenings ago, an assembly of Ladies ...

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"Ladies of the first quality"
Women play a vital role in contributing to the patriot cause, although not necessarily in the same manner as men. Their resistance takes a different form. The author of this article recognizes the significance of the decisions made by these "first quality" ladies. His description of home production leads to observations on local production in the colony of Massachusetts.

To examine both pages of this newspaper, please see the online display of The Massachusetts Gazette Extraordinary, 24 December 1767.

Questions to Consider

1. Why are these ladies considered "first quality"? What are they doing?

2. How do their actions support resistance to the Townshend Acts? What would happen if they were not taking these actions?

3. Why is this article being circulated?

4. Why does the author go on to recount all the items that are being manufactured in Massachusetts? Why is this important for local readers to know? What message does this article have for the British?

5. Who or what are "cavillers"? How does the author intend to erase skepticism about his claims?

Further Exploration

6. Write a brief biography of the women you would imagine to have met in the meeting mentioned at the beginning of this article. Who were they? Where were they from? What were their accomplishments and achievements?

7. What is a boycott? How do the actions fit/not fit the definition of this word?

8. Research the history of the production of rum, shoes, and watches in Massachusetts. What was the effect of the Townshend Acts on this production? The move towards independence? The Revolutionary War itself? Subsequent events such as the Embargo Act of 1807 and the War of 1812?

9. What is patriotism? How should we define it? Are there different kinds? Is it important? Do you think the article describes actions that warrant that label? Why?

10. What actions do you consider symbolic of patriotic sentiment in the current times? Find a news article or web blog applauding those efforts as patriotic and write a short reflection piece on whether or not you agree with the depiction of the act(s) as such.