"Boston, February 24. Last Week was taken up ..."

Boston, February 24. Last Week was taken up ...
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[ This description is from the project: Coming of the American Revolution ]

This article, published after the passing of the Stamp Act, is one example of many similar pieces written anonymously by members of the Sons of Liberty meant to defame loyalist or British authority figures.

"The Badge of Slavery"

The Stamp Act goes into effect on 1 November 1765. A few printers decide to suspend publication to avoid paying the stamp tax. Many printers, however, simply ignore the duty and continue to publish. In colonies where the Sons of Liberty are well organized, many printers realize it is safer to continue to print than to face the wrath of the Sons and their minions. Printers who cooperate with the Sons of Liberty rarely print mere appeals to reason and calls to action. Instead, their stories often include inflammatory statements and insinuations aimed at a variety of colonial and British authority figures.

To examine all four pages of this newspaper, please see the online display of The Boston-Gazette and Country Journal, 24 February 1766.

Questions to Consider

1. Who is the "prisoner" being described in this article?

2. With what crime is the prisoner charged (set forth in the Bill mentioned in the first paragraph)?

3. What is the jury's verdict?

4. Describe the image associated with this newspaper article. What part of the trial does this image depict? Who are the figures represented? What are they discussing? (Review the article for clues.)

5. What ultimately happens to the prisoner and the effigies?

Further Exploration

6. Make a list of the toasts offered by the Sons of Liberty after the proceedings. Select one toast and explain why the Sons would offer that particular toast.