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"Charlestown, (S. Carolina,) October 4. Saturday last, being the first of October ..."

Charlestown, (S. Carolina,) October 4. Saturday last, being the first of October ...

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"92 glasses"

What's in a number? Two are important here: "45" refers to the issue number of a publication called the North Briton in which the author John Wilkes, member of Parliament, castigates the British government for its policies towards the colonies. "92" is the number of Massachusetts representatives who voted against rescinding the circular letter of 11 February as demanded by the royal governor Francis Bernard.

To examine all four pages of this newspaper, please see the online display of the The Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, 7 November 1768.

Questions to Consider

1. What are mechanics? What kinds of work do they do? What are rope-walks? What work takes place there? Where does this event take place? How far from Boston is this city?

2. What have the mechanics met to do (before the "entertainment" starts)?

3. What is the ensuing entertainment? How are politics and social life intertwined on this occasion?

4. In what ways are the two numbers celebrated?

5. Why are the Massachusetts Ninety-two being toasted over and over?

6. What is the song that is sung? Why is that song important here? (You will find information to answer this in another document in this section.)

7. What is the significance of where this event is taking place? What do you suppose the reaction of most Bostonians would be upon reading this article? What would be the reaction of the authors of the Circular Letter? The British colonial administrators?

Further Exploration

8. Research the political career of John Wilkes. What issues did he address and what was his stance? Why was he such a hero to the colonists? What towns and other places in America were named after him?

9. Use this particular description to demonstrate the growing solidarity of the colonies in resistance to Britain. Provide examples from at least two other colonies.

10. In what ways was Massachusetts different from the other colonies at this point in 1768? In what ways was it becoming less isolated? Cite evidence from the documents to back up your assertions.

11. What happened as a result of the decision of the Massachusetts Ninety-two?

12. Research the history of toasting people, events, and causes. What was the significance of having a toast? When is this done today?