MARCH MEETING, 1924
A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at the house of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 28 Newbury Street, Boston, on Thursday, March 27, 1924, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Fred Norris Robinson, Ph.D., in the chair.
The Records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.
Mr. Alfred Marston Tozzer of Cambridge was elected a Resident Member; and Mr. Kenneth Charles Morton Sills of Brunswick, Maine, and Mr. William Davis Patterson of Wiscasset, Maine, were elected Corresponding Members.
Mr. William C. Lane read the following paper:
THE PRINTER OF THE HARVARD THESES OF 1771
On searching in the Boston papers of the time for notices of an episode of the Harvard Commencement of 1771, my attention was drawn to the fact that the sheet of Commencement Theses that year was printed for the first time by Isaiah Thomas instead of by Richard Draper, who had been the printer for several years previous. On looking back through the file of Commencement Theses in the Harvard Library I find that the names of Richard and Samuel Draper first appeared on the Theses and Quaestiones of 1763, no printer’s name having been given in earlier years. The same printers are responsible for these sheets from 1764 to 1766. Richard Draper’s name alone is found on the Theses from 1767 to 1770, in which last year he styles himself “Academiae Typographus.” Richard Draper had succeeded his father, John Draper, as printer of the Boston News Letter in December, 1762, and was appointed “Printer to the Governor and Council” of the province in succession to his father at about the same time. In April, 1763, apparently in consequence of a special order passed by the Council giving him exclusive right to official news, he changed the title of his paper from “The Boston News-Letter, and the New-England Chronicle” to “The Massachusetts Gazette, And Boston News-Letter.”1
Draper, as printer to the Governor and also, as he styles himself, to the College, was highly displeased to have the printing of the Theses taken away from him, and a bitter controversy resulted. This it may be worth while to follow, as several points in connection with the publication of the Theses appear which may not be generally known.
In the News Letter of July 11, 1771, we find the following paragraph:
We hear there are 622 young Gentlemen to commence Bachellors of Arts next Week at Harvard-College: It is said they have thought proper to take the Employ of printing the THESES from this Office, which has served every Class since their first being printed, and bestowed their Favor on the Printers of the News Paper called the Massachusetts SPY.
The Gentlemen who are to commence Masters of Arts we hear have agreed that their QUESTIONS should be printed as customary.3
From this it appears that the Theses were printed for the Senior Class and by their direction rather than by the College itself.4
The News Letter of the next week, July 18 (page 2/2), contained the following verses, which are worth reprinting as an indication of the political temper of the time though lacking any literary merit:
Mr. Draper, The following was wrote Extempore, by a young Gentleman, on reading a Paragraph in your last Gazette, which is at your Service to insert at Pleasure.
From a constant Reader, and Admirer of, your Weekly Productions.
To the Young Gentlemen, Candidates for their First Degrees at Cambridge.
AND is it true, ye Sons of Fame,
Are Draper’s Types thrown by? —
Reproach, Dishonour, Scandal, Shame,
Attend the dirty Spy!
How can ye patronize a Press,
The Engine of all Ill,
The God of Discord who caress,
The World with Slander fill?
Mark how the frowning Brow reproves
This Deed of Harvard’s Sons! —
Faction first vulgar Spirits moves,
Then round the World it runs.
But ah, alas! that learned Youth,
Should ever catch the Flame,
Disgraces Learning, Virtue, Truth,
And crops their rising Flame!
O ALMA MATER! Happy Seat!
Where Truth and Learning shine,
May LOYAL FIRMNESS these compleat,
And in your Breasts combine.
The Massachusetts Spy, the most radical and lively of the five papers then being published in Boston, had been established by Isaiah Thomas July 17, 1770, at first in partnership with Zechariah Fowle, Thomas’s former employer, but from October 30 of that year had been managed by Thomas alone, first as a quarto sheet up to February 1, 1771, and then, after a short suspension, as a folio paper issued weekly, beginning March 7, 1771. Draper’s paper was the conservative government organ, Thomas’s gave expression to the strong anti-British feeling which was developing in the colony. In the Spy of July 25, 1771 (page 3/2), the following communication appears:
To the Printer of the Massachusetts Spy
By inserting the following you will oblige a constant Reader.
Scribere jussit Necessitas.
I AM exceeding uneasy to hear the young Gentlemen who were lately admitted to the honours of the College, so scandalously calumniated with respect to their Theses being printed by a man whom the majority of the Class thought suitable to accomplish their views upon the most reasonable terms. It is very certain the Class had an indefeasible RIGHT to expend their own money as they pleased, and of consequence to print it where they thought proper, let mr: Draper insist and. persist ever so much to the contrary, pray sir, are you gifted in ability, or impowered by the authority above others, that you should be the only person capable of performing it acceptably? So much the reverse, I apprehend any Typographer in the town has an equal ability and power to your lordship, if not superior: It is almost universally asserted that you have been an exorbitant wretch ever since you first undertook its publication. And forsooth was not contented (as it is credibly reported) with calumniating the Class, but by artful insinuations and audacious assertions, endeavoured to alienate the affections of his Excellency from them, urging that it was entirely through malicious political opposition to his Excellency. — O man! beware, and adhere to this brief, though important advice — Be cautious of detraction, lest the vindication of your personal character should be demanded, which appears to be spotted like the Leopard’s skin, — love your brother — be not litigious. — If this momentous, tender, and affectionate warning is observed strictly, it will indubitably have a glorious tendency to elevate your mind above those groveling, ungentleman-like actions, which are but too apparent through the general tenour of your conduct.
— “Immania Monstra”
The case for the students was further advocated in the Boston Gazette, a paper published by Edes and Gill and sympathetic with the same party. In the issue of July 29, 1771 (page 2/1), we find the following communication:
Messieurs Edes & Gill,
IT is always customary with Those who commence Batchellors of Arts at Harvard-College, to chuse their own Printer. The Senior Class have this Year given the Preference to Mr. Thomas; this free Act and Liberty of their own, has been the Cause of high Displeasure to that grand slavish Conformist to ministerial Instructions, which have had such Influence over his haughty arbitrary Mind, as moved him to demand of the Reverend President and Tutors of Harvard College the Reasons why the Senior Class dar’d to act so consistent with their own Free-Will and Pleasure, as to prefer the Printer of an infamous Paper in this Instance of their Favor. From the above, we may plainly see the malicious Pleasure which ministerial hypocritical Slaves take in destroying the Liberty of others, inferior in Dignity to themselves; and the Readiness of a crowded Group of foolish Flatterers, with vain and puerile Compliments, to address a sworn Enemy to the Rights, Privileges and Liberties of this Country. His Actions speak louder than Words, and plainly prove the Hypocrisy of his Heart, and the Baseness of his Intentions. It is earnestly recommended to all the succeeding Classes, to follow this Example, and act their own Liberty of Conscience, without Fear, Favor or Affection to Placemen, Pensioners, or any of their meanest Underlings; and treat with the greatest Indignity and Contempt, all such Advice as is founded on the malicious Principle of a haughty Advocate for Prerogative.
In the News Letter of August 1, 1771 (page 2/2), Draper returns to the charge and defends his position:
REcollecting this Morning, that in last Week’s Spy the Publishers attempted to slur my Character, and misrepresent Facts, I imagined the Public would indulge me in a few Words to vindicate myself, notwithstanding I signified sometime since, no Notice would be taken of their Scurrility. — That the Class, some of them, were for having their Theses printed by a Man whom they thought suitable to accomplish their Views upon the most reasonable Terms, I do not doubt. — I never denied the Right the Class had to expend their own Money as they pleased, and to print their Theses where they tho’t proper: The Committee will do me the Justice to acknowledge that I disclaimed any such Right. The most that ever I pretended to was a Preference to the lowest of the Business, for I found no Application had been made to any of the established Printers in Town. — As to the extravagant Price, be it known, that for printing 3000 Sheets the Price I asked was but 13 s. 4 d. in the whole, or 4 Coppers more for each Scholar, than what Thomas asked: For this I am called an exorbitant Wretch! Can it be thought that the young Gentlemen were influenced by so small a Saving to have their Work done by the Publishers of the Spy! Or rather, is there not Grounds for Suspicion that it was from political Views? — As to the Charge of my representing it as such to his Excellency, it is false, I neither made Application to his Excellency nor to any of the Governors of the College relating to the Affair; and what Opinion any had of their Conduct, I am not accountable for. — A Threat, miscalled Advice, closes, “Be cautious, &c. lest the Vindication of your personal Character should be demanded, &c.” A DEMAND of any sort from such Incendiaries a few Months ago, I should have tho’t a momentous Affair: But thank Heaven those Times are over! — As for being spotted like a Leopard’s Skin, if that was really the Case, what Service would it be to the Public to discover them? This gives me no Uneasiness, as the Place of my Nativity and Residence is sufficient to vindicate my Character. — All that I request of the Spy-mongers, is, that when they characterize, they would not take their Draft from either the Squire from Abbington, the Doctor from —, or their Man Thomas, and palm it upon their Readers for
From this statement we learn that three thousand was evidently the usual number of copies printed, a surprising fact when we consider the great rarity of these broadsides at the present time. Three thousand sheets would apparently give each graduate about fifty copies to distribute to his friends; and paper being somewhat scarce at this time, we must perhaps conclude that the sheets were more valued as wrapping paper or as material for making up note-books or for correspondence than on account of their printed contents.
The three persons referred to in the last sentence, the Squire from Abington, the Doctor from —, and their Man Thomas, are Joseph Greenleaf, an uncompromising opponent of Governor Hutchinson and of the government, who wrote for the Spy under the name of Mucius Scaevola, Dr. Thomas Young,6 and Isaiah Thomas.
The News Letter of August 8 (page 4/1) inserted in its columns the article printed above from the Spy of July 25 as a “specimen of the attacks on private characters by the writers in the Spy.” This is followed in the same number (page 4/1) by a communication addressed to Mr. Draper dated Cambridge, July 31, 1771:
Cambridge, July 31. 1771.
IN the same Page of the dirty Spy, I observe you have the Honor of being calumniated with the first and greatest Character in the Province; the Implication is extreme favourable: I almost envy you your Persecutors: Such Creatures are far from being formidable; they have a Profusion of Malice indeed, but like a Sword in the Hands of an Idiot, they wound themselves with the Point, while they aim a Blow at their Adversary with the Pummel. What a wretched Triumvirate! a poor shiftless erratic Knight from Abington, a dunghill-bred Journeyman Typographer, and a stupid phrensical Mountebank, — but scribere jussit Necessitas, —:Hungerbitten by Jupiter! Be assured Mr. D. their Wit will never wound you; but keep clear of the Teeth of such Gentry.
It is most certainly true, that the Class lately graduated, had an incontestable Right to expend their Money as they pleased; but when they or any other Employers think proper to desert a faithful Servant, without any assignable Reason, it then becomes Matter of general Curiosity; and if Caprice, Meanness, or an equally despicable Party-Zeal appear to have had any Influence in their Conduct, they become so far reprehensible.
Let the celebrated Triumvirate swagger and bluster as they will, I never knew that Mr. D. ever presumed on any Powers, or claimed any abilities superior to his Brother Types,7 but I apprehend he may (consistent with the greatest Modesty) avail himself of such a plea as this; that as he was educated in the Business from Infancy, ’tis at least supposeable, that he is possessed of Typographical Abilities equal to the Squire of Abington, or any of the Triumvirate, not excepting their Journeyman Thomas; and if we may judge from their Weekly Publications, he is vastly their superior in Judgment, for he has never nauseated the public Palate with such execrable Trash as is constantly leaking from their Sink of Ribaldry.
Another groundless Allegation against Mr. D. is, that of Exorbitance in his Demands: It appears that upon the first Application to Mr. D. his Demand for the Jobb was nominally superior to that of the Spy-mongers in the extraordinary Sum of Five Pounds old Tenor, and the Triumvirate may very probably have struck at that trifling Abatement, for the mean Purpose of pyrating the Jobb out of his Hands.
But this anonymous I professes great and exceeding Uneasiness for the doleful Condition of the poor young Gentlemen, who were lately admitted to the Honors of the College, in that they are calumniated and scandalously too; for what? for having their Theses printed by a Man (Query, was the Squire the Printer?) who was tho’t suitable for their Purpose. — It would be absurd Messieurs immania monstra to scandalize or calumniate any Man or Body of Men for employing suitable Persons to execute any Piece of Work: The whole Scandal or Calumny then according to this Author amounts to the bare Relation of the Fact, viz. that the Authors of the Spy were employed by the Class that graduated in 1771 to print their Theses, contrary to the invariable Usage of the College, who had employed Mr. Draper and his Predecessors as their Printer ab Origin: If this was a proper Preference, where lies the Scandal, where can be the Calumny? That the Class did not consult their own Honour in this particular is too apparent; much less did they pay any attention to the Inclinations of his Excellency; tho’ the conduct of the Managers in this Matter did not indicate the greatest Maturity of Judgment; yet surely the young Gentlemen could not be so egregiously mistaken as to suppose, when they abandoned an old Servant of the College, who is likewise his Excellency’s Printer, they were doing an acceptable Act to his Excellency; or when they thought proper to employ the Printers of the Spy, who from the first day of the Publication of that detestable Paper, like staunch Murderers, steady to their Purpose, have incessantly raved, rillified and abused the most immaculate Character, as well as the most respectable Person in the Province; They could not surely conjecture that such Creatures as these were Objects of his Excellency’s Predilection, or that they could conciliate his Excellency’s Esteem by employing them.
As to personal Characters, I will not injure Mr. D. by a Comparison, the Authors of the Spy must know their weak side too well to venture their Bread on so slender a Stake: Therefore I shall address them with the following Couplet of Lord Littleton, and conclude,
Lie on, while my Revenge shall be,
To speak the very Truth of Thee.
In the Spy of the same date, August 8 (page 3/2), Thomas printed a neat and brief note addressed to his opponent which is worth quoting:
To Mr. Richard Draper.
IF your customers are satisfied to maintain a weekly news-paper, sacred to the ebulitions of your envy and private resentment, I have nothing to say in the affair. But though I might perfectly equal you in random invective, I have not the ambition to conceit my performances would add any thing considerable to the entertainment of my generous encouragers; whom I wish to divert in a much more agreeable manner, than by any thing which can arise from the uninteresting squabbles of Mr. R. Draper, and
Another letter in the same issue (page 3/3), in denunciation of Draper, is signed “Musacolis.”
In the Spy of August 15 (page 3/3) a new writer, A. B., apparently a member of the Class of 1771, comes to the defence of Thomas in behalf of his classmates:
To Mr. R. Draper.
THOUGH considered as a meer mechanic in the art of setting and blacking types, you are below the notice of a freshman, or even a school boy; the pother kept up about you in your own paper, as a very important person, no less a character than his Excellency’s Printer, will excuse a youth who has borne some share of your smutting to address the Governor’s printer upon the delicate piece you received from Cambridge, wherein the complaint of the Bachelors of 1771, is with amazing dexterity fathered on gentlemen, whom you would have the world believe your foul-mouthed impertinence has rendered inconsiderable. But in the first place, Sir, suffer me to assure the public, that neither Joseph Greenleaf, Esq; Doctor Thomas Young, nor Mr. Isaiah Thomas, have had any thing more to do in the composition of the paper in question, than Mr. Wilkes or Parson Yorick. And further, that all the wonderful cunning of yourself and your assistants will fall short of appeasing the class for the impudent, unmannerly and insolent abuse you have lavished upon them, and still continue, in as plain terms as you dare. But should you proceed in the manner you have gone on, since you sold yourself to work wickedness for the most abandoned villains in the universe, determined enemies to learning as well as liberty, which every man above the rank of idiot in understanding, knows must stand or fall together, you and probably your patrons will be “hunger-bitten by Jupiter!” for if a Jupiter, or any just and potent being governs the affairs of men, such hypocrites, robbers and public enemies to the happiness and security of his creatures must be objects of his vengeance. It is not with wit, Mr. Draper, you are to be attacked, nor will the teeth of your opponents, as yet, fix upon so vile a morsel.
It is most certainly true, your writer observes, “that the Class lately graduated had an incontestable right to expend their money as they pleased; but when they or any other employers think proper to desert a faithful servant without any assignable reason, it then becomes matter of general curiosity; and if caprice, meanness, or an equally despicable party-zeal appear to have had any influence in their conduct, they become so far reprehensible.”
To this nucleus of the whole essay, I would thus answer. The Class in question never received any services from Mr. Draper which they esteemed more faithfully performed than the like services of transmitting news, speculations, &c. were by Mr. Thomas. Indeed the preference alledged to be given to Thomas, seems to determine the agreeableness of the service at least in his favour. And that I should think reason sufficient for any freeman to assign for the exercise of an incontestable right. The affair’s becoming a matter of general curiosity may affect Mr. Draper as it pleases for all the Class cares about it. Caprice and meanness are terms more easily hove at, than fixed on any of Mr. Draper’s Scourgers; and for party-zeal, Lycurgus has told us, that in a general commotion of the state there should be no neuters.
Your kind stars, in combining Triumvirates, have certainly been uncommonly auspicious the past week. Had either the Class or the Spy-mongers been such officious friends to his Excellency as to pack him Bernard and Tryon,8 it is probable the next paper would have bellowed with more than Ætna’s thunders at the flagrant abuse of the most immaculate character.
Your great judgment in selecting entertainment I esteem as much as any man. I never wish your able correspondents a more scanty flow of sense or fine expression; his Excellency must surely be eminently gratified with the amazing abilities of his vindicators, and the zeal of his Printer.
This communication is followed by a short letter (page 3/4) from J. Greenleaf in answer to several defamatory letters in the News Letter, including that of the “anonymous author from Cambridge,” begging his enemies to “take the field in open day-light,” subscribe their future productions and “let mankind judge of the truth of the charges by the credibility of the accusers.”
In the News Letter of August 15 (page 3/2), we find a short paragraph by Richard Draper in answer to the Spy in which he finally begs leave “to withdraw from publick view, asking pardon for having claimed their attention so long, in a frivolous disputation with persons of little or no consequence either to the Church or State;” but in the same paper in another column (page 3/1) we find an anonymous writer, speaking apparently in behalf of the class, who writes as follows:
MR. Draper, having seen the Disputes relating to the printing the Theses, I take this first Opportunity after the Vacation, on my Return, to inform you that it has been discovered, the Class were greatly taken in, in changing their Printer, for instead of a saving, as it was pretended, what with the Printer and Paper-maker together, the Price exceeded what you asked, and for which you have been scurriously treated as an exorbitant Wretch: The Public may rely on this as Fact, and any further Dispute about the Affair, to them but trifling, be prevented.
Cambridge, August 15.
Two days later Thomas wrote the following notice, which was printed in the Boston Gazette of August 19 (page 311):
WHEREAS a scandalous & malicious Falshood, was inserted in Mr. Draper’s Massachusett’s Gazette last Thursday, viz. “It has been discovered, the Class were greatly taken in, in changing their Printer, for instead of a saving, as it was pretended, what with the Printer and Paper-maker together, the Price exceeded what you [Mr. Draper] asked.” In order to confute so bare-faced an untruth, the Subscriber would refer all those, who have the Curiosity to know the true state of the matter, to the Committee of the Class, who employed the Printer of the Theses; or to the Printing-Office in Union street, where an exact account of the charge of the Paper and Printing, as also of Cash received, may be seen properly attested, which will convince every Person of the Falsehood of the Charge, which otherwise may have a Tendency to injure the Reputation, and thereby distress the Family, by destroying the Business of
Boston, Aug. 17, 1771.
This drew from Draper, in the News Letter of August 22 (page 3/1), a specific statement in regard to the price asked by himself and by Thomas for doing the printing:
MR. I. Thomas, in very high Terms in the Boston Gazette, having charged the Cambridge writer in our last, with publishing a “scandalous & malicious Falshood,” and which perhaps was done in that Paper,10 that his Assertions might have the more Credit, — we are requested to publish the Facts, which are as follows:
The Printer hereof offered to print 3000 Theses for £6. and procure the best of Paper made at Milton, without any Advance on the same, at such a Rate that according to computation the Charge in the whole would amount to £11 17s.
The Printers of the Spy, it is said, offered their Printing Work for £5 6s. 8d. which with the additional Price of the Paper, made the Sum amount to £12 10s. — No doubt a Reason will be given why the Expence was more, namely, that not having Types the Theses were usually printed with, they were obliged to have Paper of a larger Size and higher Price. — But the Question is, whether the Class have not upon the whole paid more by changing their Printer, as the Cambridge Writer asserted.
In the Spy of the same date, August 22 (page 3/1), a member of the Class Committee takes up the cudgels in behalf of the Class and of Thomas and gives his statement of the affair including details in regard to price:
For the Massachusetts Spy.
To Mr. R. Draper
I HAVE long remained a silent witness to your unparalleled abuse of my Classmates, and notwithstanding the share I have borne in it, I have declined so mean a task as to enter into a public contest with you, had I not been concerned for the reputation of those whose friendship I esteem. Not that they can receive any injury from your aspertions; but that those who are unacquainted with the matters, and have not heard them contradicted, may give you some credit, I have ventured to deliver my opinion, however, I may verify the old Roman maxim,
— Quando cum Stercore certo,
Vinco seu vincor, semper ego maculor.
I shall, therefore, in the first place, give a true state of the facts, and leave the public to draw what inferences they please from them. At a meeting of the Class about a fortnight before Commencement, a large committee was chosen to act from that time till Commencement as the class; this Committee which consisted of ten, at a subsequent meeting, elected a sub-committee for the purpose of employing a Printer, to print the Theses, repeating to them the instructions which they had originally received from their constituents, viz. that they should employ the cheapest workman. Mr. Draper immediately applied for the work; being asked his price, he replied 100 l. being again asked whether that was the lowest he could afford it at, he answered yes; but rather than lose the job he would do it for 5 per cent cheaper than any other, or for nothing. The committee rejoined that they did not desire he should do it a penny less than he could afford, and if no Printer could afford it for less than what he had offered he should have the employ. The Committee then applied to Mr. Thomas to know his price, who immediately made a calculation, and in a few minutes told them he would undertake it for 95 l. and this being 5 l. cheaper than Mr. Draper could afford it for, the Committee saw fit to employ Mr. Thomas. The Committee afterwards ordering a paper of a better quality, as well as of a larger size, agreed to allow 98 l. 10 s.
This being the true state of the affair, I shall proceed to make a few remarks upon the pieces published by Mr. Draper, upon the occasion; beginning with his poet, who undoubtedly laboured whole nights and days to apply the word “faction” to the conduct of the Class. But how the meer act of passing by Mr. Draper’s office without employing him may be termed faction, I am unable to account for any other way, than by virtue of that poetical licence, which was granted only to the great geniuses that flourished under the republics of Greece and Rome. Perhaps your poet, Sir, intends that Greece and Rome shall not be the only states that can boast of great geniuses.
In the piece signed by yourself, you insinuate (as though it was a crime) that we did it “from political views,” for my own part (for I can speak but for one) had that been my motive I should have gloried in the virtue, and I am very sensible that such a conduct would have gained me, the highest honour my wishes can aspire to, the approbation of every good citizen.
As your first writer from Cambridge says little more than to allow, that “the Class had an incontestable right to expend their money as they pleased;” we would advise him to leave us to the free exercise of an incontestable right without his impertinent molestation — but stay — he has said something more — “that the Class did not consult their own honour in this particular is too apparent; much less did they pay any attention to the inclinations of his Excellency.” To pay any attention to the inclinations of any one, or even our own, when they militate with our instructions, his Excellency himself knows, is so far from reflecting an honour upon the agent, that it is immediately derogatory thereto, and why the Committee should give away 5 l. or 5 d. of the Class’s money merely to gratify his Excellency’s inclination, is a question perhaps they could not have answered.
Upon your last week’s letter from Cambridge, I shall only remark, that had it been from one of the Class (every individual of whom has an undoubted right to enquire into facts) I should have endeavoured to convince him of his mistake; but since it is one who is utterly unacquainted with the matter, and seeing he has intermeddled where he had no concern, I shall take the liberty to tell him, that he has published to the world an absolute falshood, and unless you, Mr. Draper, can persuade your writer to demonstrate to the public, that the “class were greatly taken in,” and that “what with the Printer and Papermaker together, the price exceeded what you asked,” it will but aggravate the vengeance which you have already justly merited.
Upon the whole, Sir, seeing you have wantonly published whatever came to your press, without ascertaining the truth, and blazoned falshoods at large, unless you reconcile all the inconsistencies contained therein on your own behalf, I think you are chargeable for the whole; and therefore stand exposed to the public eye in the glaring character
Issued under the Act of 1765
engraved for the colonial society of massachusetts
from originals owned by the massachusetts historical society
of a street-bully; and I would have you remember that by your repeated insults you have probably subjected yourself to the chastisement of the Class, as you certainly have to the displeasure of
With this communication, the controversy apparently came to an end.
Mr. George P. Anderson exhibited a shawl woven in the Mackintosh plaid, in which red predominates and which is said to have suggested a name for the apple known as the “Mackintosh Red;” a letter written May 1, 1826, by Paschal Paoli Mackintosh, the oldest son of Ebenezer Mackintosh; a picture of David Mackintosh, also a son of Ebenezer Mackintosh; and one of the stamps issued in accordance with the Stamp Act of 1765.11 He then read the following paper:
EBENEZER MACKINTOSH: STAMP ACT RIOTER AND PATRIOT
In a recent course of lectures on British History before the Lowell Institute in Boston, George Macaulay Trevelyan, the English historian, pointed out that when, following the Roman invasion of Britain, about twenty centuries ago, constructive public works, especially roads, were built by the Romans, their efforts stopped short when they encountered the barriers of the mountains in Wales and the mountains in Scotland. In Scotland the Highlands remain to this day an important factor in influencing the life and character of the inhabitants of that section. A certain independence, a certain native fierceness, is rightly associated with the men of the Highlands. It was so twenty centuries ago, and it is so even to-day, as is witnessed by the deeds of the “Ladies from Hell” in the Great War.
If one goes to-day into the Highlands of Scotland, into the district of Inverness-shire, there will be found thousands of representatives of the Clan Mackintosh who typify this independence, resolution, and courage. This Clan’s history can be traced back definitely to the twelfth century, and with more or less vagueness to a very much earlier period. To-day the Clan as of old is regularly organized and has a chief, who is Alfred Donald Mackintosh of the twenty-eighth generation from Shaw Mackintosh, the first recognized chieftain who ruled from 1163 to 1179.12 Numerous as the Mackintosh clansmen still are in the Highlands and elsewhere in Scotland, their lines have gone out to the ends of the earth, and many indeed are the Mackintoshes in the United States.
Hardy in physique and vigorous in action, for centuries the Mackintoshes of Scotland contended with varying success with many of the neighboring clans. With the Camerons they carried on a dispute over title to certain lands which lasted three hundred and fifty years and caused much bloodshed. The Mackintosh of those days who did not fight was not a true Mackintosh. At Bannockburn in 1314 the Clan had a goodly representation in the defeat of Edward II by Robert Bruce and his followers; at the time of the contest between Charles I and Oliver Cromwell, it aided the king, and thus was on the losing side; and it was for the Jacobite cause in 1715.
Mackintoshes were among the early settlers in several of the American colonies, particularly Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Georgia. Some of the very early Mackintoshes in New England were deported but pardoned Scotch prisoners,13 who had been taken by Oliver Cromwell at the battles of Dunbar on August 3, 1650, and of Worcester on August 3, 1651, and sent to Boston and sold as redemptioners. In a list of 272 such Scotch prisoners recorded May 14, 1652,14 there appear the names John Mackenthow, William Mackentoss, and Daniell Mackendocke. It seems probable that the surnames of all three properly spelled would be Mackintosh. The first shipload of Scotch prisoners sent by Cromwell had arrived some time before the Rev. John Cotton, the eminent New England divine, wrote to Oliver Cromwell on July 28, 1651:
The Scots, whom God delivered into your hand at Dunbarre, and whereof sundry were sent hither, we have been desirous (as we could) to make their yoke easy. Such as were sick of the scurvy or other diseases have not wanted physick and chyrurgery. They have not been sold for slaves to perpetuall servitude, but for 6 or 7 or 8 yeares, as we do our owne; and he that bought the most of them (I heare) buildeth houses for them, for every 4 an house, layeth some acres of ground thereto, which he giveth them as their owne, requiring 3 dayes in the weeke to work for him (by turnes) and 4 dayes for themselves, and promiseth, assoone as they can repay him the money he layed out for them, he will set them at liberty.15
Historians have given almost no attention to the influence springing from these two shiploads of Scotch prisoners who arrived in New England in 1651 and 1652, but the descendants from these immigrants are numerous and some have been distinguished — among them Oliver Wendell Holmes, former Governor Frank Sweet Black of New York, and William Claflin, who was governor of Massachusetts from 1866 to 1869.16
A large number of Cromwell’s Scotch prisoners were sold to the managers of extensive iron works established in Braintree, Lynn, Boston, Hammersmith (Saugus), and other places in Eastern Massachusetts.17 This enterprise, which is said to be the first manufacturing of iron in Massachusetts, was projected in England about 1643, a company being formed under the name “The Company Undertakers of the Iron Works.” It was fostered by John Winthrop, Jr., of Massachusetts. The undertaking got under way about 1644 or 1645 and operations continued until 1653, when the business failed. An appraisal of the assets in that year showed a value of £666, a large sum for that period.
In 1652, when Cromwell’s prisoners arrived, the managers of the iron works were greatly in need of cheap labor and they secured a large number of the Scotchmen and sent them to the Lynn and the Braintree plants. John Mackintosh was sent to Lynn, while William Mackintosh went to Braintree. John, under the name Toish, made a deposition at Lynn, January 25, 1654, aged about twenty-four.18 After the failure of the iron works, John Mackintosh probably was sold to some one residing in Dedham or vicinity. Both appear to have changed their surnames to Tosh or Toish when sold as redemptioners, and William retained the surname Tosh after he regained his freedom, but John went back to the original spelling.19 On April 5, 1659, which would be after a sufficient period had elapsed to permit the removal of his disability as a redemptioner, John Mackintosh was married in Dedham to Rebecca Metcalf, daughter of Michael Metcalf. It is the career of one of John Mackintosh’s descendants which interests us.20
Briefly stated, the second generation from John Mackintosh is represented by William (baptized November 25, 1665) and his wife Experience (Holbrook) Mackintosh.21 The selection of William as a name is presumptive evidence of close relationship between John and the before-mentioned fellow-prisoner William. William Mackintosh of the second generation had several children, including a son named Moses, born September 1, 1708, in Dedham, who married Lydia Jones in Dorchester, August 5, 1734.22 This Moses Mackintosh was the father of Ebenezer Mackintosh of Boston, who has come down in local history mostly under the surname Mackintosh, with the subtitle of “The Rioter,” but occasionally as “Captain” Mackintosh, though he is also known as “Mackintosh the shoemaker.” The given names Moses and Ebenezer show the New England influence which selected names from the Bible.23
Not much is known of Moses Mackintosh, father of Ebenezer. He seems either to have met with more than the usual share of misfortune, or to have been singularly improvident. His mother died when he was six years old and his father before he had reached his majority,24 and he appears never to have made any material headway in the world. For at least a century before this period the towns of Massachusetts Bay and other colonies had followed the practice of “warning out” residents who in the opinion of the selectmen might become public charges. The purpose of warning out was not necessarily to drive the person named out of the town, although it often so resulted, but in fixing the responsibility for support of the individual and his family, if occasion arose, upon the colony rather than upon the town.25 About 1753 Moses Mackintosh was warned out of Boston. In September, 1761, he was warned out of Wrentham. On December 7, 1770, Moses McEntosh and thirteen others were warned out of Boston. A memorandum accompanying the document says:
November 14, 1770, Moses McEntosh Last from the Castel he has lived in Several towns in the Country or Provance But has been warned in his Majestys Name out of them all He says he was warned out of Boston abote 17 years ago By 2 men in Boston But he says he was born in Dedham warned in his Majestys name to Depart this town of Boston in 14 Days.26
It is doubtful if Mackintosh left town on this occasion, for an order committing him to the almshouse, made by the selectmen December 17th, was withdrawn.27 This looks as if some occupation was found for him on this occasion. The last entry which presumably refers to him is a resolve which passed February 3, 1778:
Resolved that the Commanding Officer at Castle Island be & he hereby is directed to receive Moses Mackintosh (who was formerly a Sergeant there) into the pay & service of this state at that Island, there to do duty & to receive pay & rations as other Private Soldiers of that Garrison.28
Moses Mackintosh was then seventy years old, and presumably able to perform only the lightest type of military service.
Moses Mackintosh may have followed some trade, but the only records available show him as a soldier. His name is found in a muster roll dated December 5, 1737, as being in the command of Spencer Phips at Castle William, where he served from May 21 to December 2.29 Whether he continued without interruption to serve in the military force in Boston is unknown, but on November 20, 1748, he is entered as being a sergeant in the company of Spencer Phips at Castle Island, Mackintosh’s service extending from May 21 to November 20.30
Although born and reared in Dedham, Moses Mackintosh apparently was living in Dorchester as early as 1733, and it seems probable that he was a neighbor of Ebenezer Jones who lived on Dorchester Neck, adjacent to the highway leading to the Castle, now a part of South Boston. A deed31 given by Ebenezer Jones and his wife, Lydia, dated June 27, 1733, at Dorchester conveying about eleven and a half acres of upland and swamp land to Ichabod Jones, their son, cordwainer, permits some interesting conjectures. To this deed Moses Mackintosh is one of the subscribing witnesses, and the knowledge that a little more than a year later he married Lydia Jones, daughter of Ebenezer and his wife Lydia, makes it safe to assume that Moses Mackintosh was a close friend of the Jones family. Lydia Jones, the mother, signed the deed in her own hand, but her husband signed by making his mark.
The marriage of Moses Mackintosh to Lydia Jones took place August 5, 1734, in Dorchester.32 They had two children, a daughter, named Lydia, who was born in Dorchester July 17, 1735, about whom nothing is known; and a son Ebenezer born in Boston June 20, 1737, the subject of this inquiry.33 The wife seems to have had the naming of the children, for the daughter is called after herself and her mother, while the son is named Ebenezer for his grandfather Jones. Their married life apparently was full of hardship and poverty. On September 24, 1751, Lydia Mackintosh, mother of Ebenezer, died in Dorchester, perhaps having returned to her old home for an illness which proved fatal34 Within two years, probably about 1753 as we have seen, Moses was warned out of Boston. It seems probable that at this time Ebenezer, being then fourteen years old, remained in Boston, but his father on March 30, 1754, married Mary Everit in Dedham,35 and presumably did not at once return to Boston as he was later warned out of Wrentham.
The knowledge that Ebenezer Mackintosh became a cordwainer or shoemaker suggests the conjecture that he became associated as an apprentice with Ichabod Jones his uncle, who it will be recalled was a cordwainer. At any rate Ebenezer learned the trade of shoemaker. Left to his own devices at the age of fourteen, his mother being dead and his father warned out of town and taking a second wife in another town, it would seem that early in life Ebenezer was compelled by circumstances to become self-reliant. Very little has been learned relative to his childhood and youth, but it is known that he could read and write and that he developed a love for poetry, being especially fond of Edward Young, some parts of whose Night Thoughts he committed to memory. Probably his attendance at school was confined to the years before his mother died. If he was thereafter apprenticed to his uncle, little time was permitted him for study.36
When Ebenezer’s father moved from Dorchester some time between 1735 and 1737, he settled in the South End of Boston, and located in Ward 12, the most southern section of the town. The first definite mention of Ebenezer, besides the record of his birth in Boston, is found in “the alarm list of militia”37 in Ward 12, dated December 7, 1754. In this list his name appears as a private. The list was made by Ephraim May, clerk. May was an innholder on Orange (Washington) Street. The limits of Ward 12 may be described in general as running from Beach Street south to the Roxbury line. The ward thus embraced that part of the town known as Boston Neck upon which the gallows was erected. The district was a community by itself and the ward when fused with the adjacent parts of Ward 11, particularly Essex Street, constituted the South End and exhibited sharp rivalry with the North End, especially on each November 5th, the anniversary of the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. How this rivalry manifested itself later will be considered. The South End was not so thickly populated nor so influential in town affairs as the North End, but it numbered fully as many daring patriots as lived in the North End. At a slightly later period it had its South End Caucus to match the North End Caucus.
After 1754 the next trace of Ebenezer Mackintosh is found in connection with the enlisting of troops for the expedition against Canada in 1758. A broadside dated March 17, 1758,38 announced that able-bodied and effective men who voluntarily enlisted before April 15 would receive 30 shillings, and upon passing muster would be given a good blanket and 50 shillings for furnishing themselves with clothes. The pay for a private was to be £ 1.16.0 per month. This military venture attracted Mackintosh, and on April 12, just three days before the bonus would expire, he enlisted. He was enrolled in the company of Captain Eliphalet Fales in Colonel Ebenezer Nichols’s regiment. These troops were attached to the ill-starred expedition of General James Abercromby, who attacked General Montcalm at Ticonderoga July 5, 1758, but was unable to capture the fort and sustained heavy and discouraging losses.39 Mackintosh participated in some fighting, being in that part of the army which on July 20, 1758, was waylaid and ambushed at Half Way Brook between Fort Edward and Lake Georges.40 The French and Indians surprised the British on that day and more than twenty Massachusetts soldiers were slain in the skirmish. The losses were especially heavy in the company from Groton, its Captain, Thomas Lawrence, being killed. Command of that company fell to Ephraim Wesson, who in later years lived in the same town in New Hampshire to which Mackintosh retired, just before the opening of the Revolution. Mackintosh returned to Boston safe and sound on November 12, 1758, having had what must have been a disappointing army experience,41 lasting seven months and nineteen days. The soldiers in his division of the army late in July were almost ready to desert in a body, but were held to their duty by the influence of the officers. The troops, with good reason, were dissatisfied with the management of the campaign.
Many readjustments occurred in Boston after the great and destructive fire of March 20, 1760, and one of them was a closer scrutiny of the personnel of the nine fire companies in the town. The fire showed how necessary it was that the master of an engine company should be active and capable of endurance. Solomon Kneeland of engine number nine, a leather dresser located in the South End, was sixty-two years old, and the conflagration apparently called attention to his advancing years. Furthermore, in 1759 a fire had occurred at his own house and the men from engine number eight, a rival organization, put out the fire in his home and claimed and received a bonus from the town. No doubt to Mr. Kneeland this was a humiliating incident. Accordingly soon after the big fire Kneeland resigned and Stephen Greenleaf, who had been second in command, was named in his place on June 18, 1760.42 On the same day, Mr. Greenleaf requested that Ebenezer Mackintosh be added to the membership of engine number nine, there being fourteen men in all. The selectmen approved the appointment of Mackintosh and he began his duties as engineman, being as such exempt from military service. Engine number nine was located “near Mr. Allen’s,” which probably refers to James Allen who lived near what is now Park Square.
However humble the position of enginemen, or firemen as they are now called, may seem to the present generation, the position lifted Mackintosh from obscurity and gave him training and experience in meeting emergencies. Nothing is known of his personal record as a fire-fighter, but the engine to which he was attached was prompt in getting to fires, as is seen by the occasional payment of a bonus to its members for throwing the first stream of water. In view of his known daring there can be no doubt that Mackintosh did his full share of the fire-fighting.
As an engineman he was more than ever identified with the South End. A central point of that district was Deacon John Eliot’s, which was at the junction of what is now Essex and Washington Streets. On that corner stood a lofty elm known as Liberty Tree. Mackintosh lived somewhere in this district, but did not own a house. At this period he may have occupied a small shop, but more probably followed the cordwainer’s custom of going to the home of his patron and there making shoes for the family, usually from leather furnished by the customer.
If you go into any large New England town to-day there will be found to exist a certain rivalry and jealousy between different sections of the town. It has been so in many towns, and it was so in Boston long years ago. For many years the rivalry between the North End and the South End of Boston had been marked and showed itself on public occasions, especially on November 5th. It is not necessary to dwell on the Pope Day celebrations,43 but it should be remarked that in 1764 the celebration was unusually sanguinary.44 The partizans from the rival sections of the town fought with staves and clubs for hours at the Mill Bridge in the North End and there were many broken heads. Early in the day the wheel of the wagon on which the figure of the Pope was fixed passed over the head of a five-year-old boy named Brown and he was instantly killed. Regrettable as the incident was, the fight went on, the magistrates and militia being powerless. Finally the South End won. Usually these contests ended the other way, the North End in previous years having almost uniformly been victorious.
As a result of this celebration Ebenezer Mackintosh and others whose names are unknown were arrested. The charge probably was not for causing the death of the Brown boy, but for disturbing the peace or for the destruction of property. Whatever the charge, the defendants were not tried until about three months afterwards, on February 7, 1765,45 when they were before Justice Richard Dana and Justice William Story. Apparently the defendants were discharged, or perhaps were made to pay a light fine. Judge Dana lived in the South End and was a patriot, while Judge Story was a North End man and a tory. The court records are lacking and the facts are not known. Whatever happened, the reputation of Mackintosh with the townspeople did not seriously suffer. Thus Mackintosh passed through his first public ordeal. Had he not been prominent he would not have been arrested. Leadership of the South End gang for the next few years belonged to him. He apparently became “Captain” Mackintosh about this time, a courtesy title like unto that of “Colonel” bestowed in our own day on many a Kentuckian.
The next heard of Mackintosh is his election as one of five sealers of leather at the Boston town meeting March 12, 1765.46 His connection with the Pope Day affair, it is thus seen, did not hurt his standing in the town. It was the duty of a sealer of leather to pass upon the merchantability of leather, the use of unsealed leather being prohibited. The sealer had two seals, or hammers as they are sometimes called in the Boston town records, one for “all sufficiently tanned” leather and the other for “all sufficiently curried” leather. The town records of Boston show that for years there had been considerable friction in connection with the office of the sealers. Sometimes the sealers seized articles that had been made of unsealed leather and the owners sued the sealers and trouble followed. In 1762 the town passed a vote that “no tanner shoemaker, or currier shall be chose as sealers of leather.”47 This vote disqualified the very persons who were best fitted to act and the policy, which did not yield satisfactory results, was soon reversed, and in 1765 Mackintosh, who in former years would not have been eligible, was elected a sealer. He was reëlected in 1766, 1767, and 1768,48 in each of these three years being named first on the records and presumably, therefore, chairman of the board. He worked in harmony with his colleagues because during the three years that he was chairman the other four sealers also were reëlected. Thus his administration was marked with harmony, a good sign in one who has come down in history under the stigma of being only a rioter.
One incident that occurred during his administration deserves mention. Mackintosh and the other sealers appeared before the selectmen on July 22, 1767,49 and stated that they had been sued by Samuel Hughes,50 a merchant, because the sealers had seized and pronounced as unmerchantable some leather that Hughes had exposed for sale and which had been consigned to him from North Carolina. Hughes claimed that this was imported leather, that it was from an outside colony and therefore not within the jurisdiction of the sealers. This incident and Hughes’s attitude well illustrate the condition of the times, each colony regarding itself as substantially independent of the others. After Hughes had invoked the law against the sealers, the sealers went to the selectmen for counsel and requested that if they went on with the action and were “cast,” that is, were losers, they be reimbursed by the town. The selectmen said that it was important to know if leather from another colony was subject to inspection and advised testing the question. Some time later the matter was adjusted by two of the selectmen, Samuel Sewall and John Rowe, who conferred with Hughes. The record says:
The Selectmen having considered the offer made by Mr. Hughes of dropping the Action with the Sealers of Leather, for some Carolina Leather they siezed — do desire Mr. Sewall & Rowe the Committee to treat with him, to agree with his proposal to drop the Suit, deliver him the Leather, and leave it with two Gentlemen to determine what shall be paid for damages.51
During these years Mackintosh was plying his trade of shoemaker, going from home to home, but there is a possibility that by this time he had opened a shoe-shop in partnership with Benjamin Bass. On the second Tuesday of July, 1765, Samuel Adams was given a verdict of £12 10s 8d damages against Ebenezer Mackintosh and Benjamin Bass, cordwainers.52 The cause of the action is obscure. Adams was not a collector of taxes in that year or in the previous year, but the action may have originated still earlier when he was collector, as the case had been appealed from the lower court. In later years Mackintosh is referred to as a “tradesman,” which gives some color to the supposition that he once had a shop in Boston. The above-mentioned action by Samuel Adams, however, may have been a personal matter and not have related to unpaid taxes. The record at least shows some coördinate trade relationship between Bass and Mackintosh.
It is necessary now to return to the stirring events of 1765, in particular to the Stamp Act riots — the events which among historians have given Mackintosh the title of “rioter.” It has been seen that whatever happened in 1765, in the following three years Mackintosh was reëlected to town office and served on a board whose sessions were harmonious and whose services presumably were efficient. Boston in April, 1765, received the news of the passage of the Stamp Act. That information found the town in a state of indignation, and as the months went by the townspeople developed an ugly mood. Mackintosh shared in the dislike of the law, but it did not directly touch his personal business. It promised, however, to bear heavily on all tradesmen and to entail hardships on the people as a whole. If the Stamp Act had been strictly enforced, the colonists in a relatively short time would have been in a state bordering on actual financial distress. There was not enough coin in Massachusetts or in any of the colonies to pay the taxes demanded if the money was to be sent to England. In this situation men harangued excitedly in the streets, the better sort of citizens debated the outlook in their clubs, and the gang, the South Enders and the North Enders, in militant spirit prepared when a chance came to reflect public opinion. The chance soon came, or rather the crowd made an opportunity to show the prevalent unrest.
On February 6, 1765, Isaac Barré had made his famous speech in Parliament which furnished the phrase “Sons of Liberty”53 and led to the formation of the well-known pre-Revolutionary organization of that name. It was at a period when Mackintosh had become a well-known leader, and among his kind a commanding and popular figure. Somewhat later he was known as “First Captain General of Liberty Tree,”54 a title which in itself was a satirical jibe at Governor Francis Bernard, who as chief executive signed all proclamations as “Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over his Majesty’s Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New England and Vice Admiral of the Same.” This is a long title, but Mackintosh was satisfied with one half as long. Furthermore, he was in actual control of his followers, while Bernard was a craven, hesitating and fearful, not to say pusillanimous executive.
On August 12, 1765, the birthday of the Prince of Wales was observed in Boston. This event called together many of the patriots, who in discussing the political situation decided that an object lesson should be given to the people. In two days they planned and fashioned effigies of Bute and Oliver — the one hated in England, the other hated in Boston. Mackintosh as “First Captain General of Liberty Tree” had charge of the hanging of effigies on the tree and of illuminations. One of the lanterns that formerly hung on Liberty Tree is preserved and is now owned by the Bostonian Society.55 On the morning of August 14, 1765, there hung on the tree the quickly constructed effigy of the stamp distributor, Andrew Oliver, and beside him was a boot which represented the Devil coming out of Bute. As soon as the effigies were discovered, the authorities ordered them removed, but no official had the daring to undertake their removal, and they remained undisturbed until taken down by their sponsors. With the knowledge that Mackintosh was in charge of the effigies and the knowledge that he was a shoemaker, it may be conjectured that perhaps he made the boot which stood for the detested and unpopular John Stuart, third Earl of Bute, then Prime Minister. The pun of the boot was one readily grasped in an era when many tavern keepers and tradesmen employed signboards of material articles to indicate the location of their places of business. The effigy of Oliver was prepared by Benjamin Edes, Thomas Crafts, John Smith, Stephen Cleverly, John Avery, Jr., Thomas Chase, Henry Bass, and Henry Welles.56 Of these Edes, Bass, and Chase were later identified with the North End Caucus, so the enterprise was a popular town affair and not confined to the South End. No matter how sharp the rivalry between the North and South Ends might be on Pope Day, they were united in any cause that called for patriotism. In 1773, the North End Caucus bought a flag for Liberty Tree.57
After the effigies had swung in the breeze all day, they were taken down in the evening and carried in a parade through the principal streets. It was on this occasion that the first of the Stamp Act riots occurred. Mackintosh is not blamed for all that occurred that night, but he was one of the principal figures in the mob. It is said that there were many gentlemen in that procession, which finally developed into a disorderly crowd. This mob, after shouting “Liberty, Property and No Stamps,” swung into King Street and at last, after destroying a building which it is said was designed by Oliver to be an office for the distribution of stamps, passed on to Fort Hill, where considerable damage was done to the home of Andrew Oliver. The crowd then marched across the town to the home of Hutchinson on Garden Street in the North End, but being told by one of Hutchinson’s neighbors that he was not at home, left, having caused only trivial damage. As a matter of fact Hutchinson was in the house and the crowd afterwards found this out, which was another reason why twelve days later the mob with savage gusto attacked this structure.
The events of August 14, 1765, were only a prelude to the more serious disorders of August 26. The disturbances of that night began just before dark. Some boys lighted a bonfire before the Town House and soon there was a great assembly. The phrase “Liberty and Property” was heard in the crowd, an ominous signal at that period indicating that trouble was brewing. Before long the crowd started toward the residence of Charles Paxton, where they were foiled by a tactful landlord who ordered drinks for the crowd, and assured them that Mr. Paxton with his effects had left the house. Having drunk a barrel of punch at the expense of the owner of the house where Paxton lived, the crowd moved on. It was now greatly augmented, and, after looting the houses of William Story and Benjamin Hallowell, arrived before that of Hutchinson in Garden Street. What happened there can best be told by Hutchinson himself, who on August 30 wrote as follows to Richard Jackson, the province agent in London:
I came from my house at Milton with my family the 26 in the morning after dinner it was whispered in town there would be a mob at night & that Paxtons, Hallowells, & the custom house & admiralty officers houses would be attacked but my friends assured me the rabble were satisfied with the insult I had received & that I was become rather popular. In the evening while I was at supper & my children round me somebody ran in & said the mob were coming. I directed my children to fly to a secure place & shut up my house as I had done before intending not to quit it but my eldest daughter repented her leaving me & hastened back & protested she would not quit the house unless I did. I could not stand against this and withdrew wth her to a neighbouring house where I had been but a few minutes before the hellish crew fell upon my house with the rage of devils & in a moment with axes split down the door & entred my son being in the great entry heard them cry damn him he is upstairs we’ll have him. Some ran immediately as high as the top of the house others filled the rooms below and cellars & others remained without the house to be employed there. Messages soon came one after another to the house where I was to inform me the mob were coming in pursuit of me and I was obliged to retire thro yards & gardens to a house more remote where I remained until 4 o’clock by which time one of the best finished houses in the Province had nothing remaining but the bare walls and floors. Not contented with tearing off all the wainscot & hangings & splitting the doors to pieces they beat down the Partition walls & altho that alone cost them near two hours they cut down the cupola or lanthern & they began to take the plate and boards from the roof & were prevented only by the approaching daylight from a total destruction of the building. The garden fence was laid flat & all my trees &c broke down to the ground. Such ruins were never seen in America. Besides my plate & family pictures household furniture of every kind my own my children and servants apparel they carried off about £900 sterling in money emptied the house of every thing whatsoever except a part of the kitchin furniture not leaving a single book or paper in it & have scattered or destroyed all the manuscript & other papers I had been collecting for 30 years together besides a great number of publick papers in my custody.
The evening being warm I had undressed me & slipt on a thin camlet surtout over my wastcoat, the next morning the weather being changed I had not cloaths enough in my posession to defend me from the cold & was obliged to borrow from my friends. Many articles of cloathing & good part of my plate have since been picked up in different quarters of the town but the furniture in general was cut to pieces before it was thrown out of the house & most of the beds cut open & the feathers thrown out of the windows. The next evening I intended with my children to Milton but meeting two or three small parties of the ruffians who I suppose had concealed themselves in the country and my coachman hearing one of them say there he is, my daughters were terrified & said they should never be safe and I was forced to shelter them that night at the Castle.
The encouragers of the first mob never intended matters should go this length & the people in general express the utmost detestation of this unparalelled outrage & I wish they could be convinced what intimate hazard there is of the most terrible consequences from such dæmons when they are let loose in a government where there is not constant authority at hand sufficient to suppress them.
I am told the government here will make me a compensation for my own & my family’s loss wch I think cannot be much less than £3000 sterl. I am not sure they will.58 If they do not it will be too heavy for me and I must humbly apply to his Majesty in whose service I am a sufferer but this & a much greater sum would be an insufficient compensation for the constant distress & anxiety of mind I have felt for some time past & must feel for months to come. You cannot conceive the wretched state we are in. Such is the resentment of the people against the stamp duty that there can be no dependance upon the general court to take any steps to enforce or rather advise as to the payment of it. On the other hand, such will be the effects of not submitting to it that all trade must cease all courts fall & all authority be at an end. Must not the ministers be extremely embarrassed. On the one hand it will be said if concessions be made the parliament [will] endanger the loss of their authority over the colonies on the other hand if external force should be used there seems to be danger of a total lasting alienation of affection. Is there no alternative? May the infinitely wise God direct you.59
Two days after the riot, at the Council meeting on August 28, 1765, Governor Bernard asked the opinion of the Council as to the advisability of writing to General Thomas Gage in New York and to Lord Colville. He was advised by the Council that it was not expedient to write to them. This action must have been a parliamentary defeat for Bernard, because on the day preceding the session of the Council, he had taken upon himself to write to both Gage and Colville. The letter to Gage shows how thoroughly distressed and frightened the Governor was:
I doubt not but you will have an account of the riots at Boston, upon the business of the Stamp Act before this comes to hand. The Mob was so general & so supported, that all civil power ceased in an instant, & I had not the least authority to oppose or quiet the Mob. You are sensible how extreamly weak an American Governor is in regard to popular tumults, without a file of Men at his Command, & having no regular troops, at present, within call. In this state, I could look only towards you: and I was assured that you had but two Companies with you, and those I conceived could not be properly moved from their present stations for obvious reasons. I therefore listened to flattering hopes that these Troubles might subside of themselves, & that temporary Quiet might take place till we could hear from England. But in this I have been deceived: for the fury of the mob is grown more extravagant than ever. Last night they destroyed & rifled the Lt Govrs House from Top to Bottom; all his Cash, papers, furniture, Cloaths, &c, are carried off, & wasted & burned; They served Mr Hallowell’s, Comptroller of the Customs, after the same manner; also Mr Story’s, the Register of the Admiralty’s House, all whose papers & Books, among which were all the records of the records of the Admiralty, were burned before his door: Another House, Mr Paxton,60 was intended for ruin; but begged off by the Landlord of the House. My House was not attacked at all; which I wondered at: for the other persons having offended them only by being in Office under the King, I should have thought, that I should have been reckoned the most offensive. More mischief is daily expected: Where it will end no body knows. In short, The Town of Boston is in the possession of an incensed & implacable Mob; I have no force to oppose them; I know not whether I shall be able to preserve this Castle, which is threatened to be attacked, if the stamped papers from England should be, as is designed, placed here. The Garrison, when compleat, amounts but to 60 men; & I dare not reenforce them out of the Country, for fear it should be the Means of betraying the place. Under these difficulties, I have nothing to do, but to apply to you, as his Majesty’s Military Commander in chief; and I can only recommend to you to use such means as you shall think proper to preserve his Majestys Dominion over this Town. I am going to Cambridge to hold a Council there, & consider what is to be done on this occasion; one Measure must be to remove the Government to a place of Security, & there call the Assembly, who, I doubt not, will testify their abhorrance of these rebellious proceedings.61
Mixed emotions were experienced throughout Boston on the morning following the wrecking of Hutchinson’s house. The North part of the town doubtless had been sleepless the greater part of the night, for the work of destruction went on until four o’clock the following morning, when daybreak admonished the mob to cease its efforts. One of the immediate results of the rioting was the calling of a town meeting. Though hastily called, the meeting was attended by quite a large concourse, including, as is suggested by several authorities, some of the citizens who were in the rioting a few hours before. They were there, doubtless, to see what was going to be done about it, with mental reservations in all that they voted that day. It does not appear that Mackintosh himself was at the town meeting, but he might have been there. It is known that he appeared in King Street that very day and before long was arrested by Sheriff Stephen Greenleaf, who had a warrant which had been issued by the Council. Just what conversation passed between Mackintosh and the Sheriff is not revealed. No blows were struck, and Mackintosh created no disturbance. Perhaps he knew that he was standing on relatively safe ground. What happened may best judged by what is written in the diary of Thomas Hutchinson, the man most interested, and presumably as well informed as any person could be:
The Governor had summoned a council the day after the riot. The Sherriff attended; and upon enquiry, it appeared that one Mackintosh, a shoemaker, was among the most active in destroying the Lt Governor’s house and furniture. A warrant was given to the Sherriff to apprehend him by name, with divers others. Mackintosh appeared in King Street, and the Sherriff took him; but soon discharged him, and returned to the Council Chamber, where he gave an account of his taking him; and said that Mr Nathl Coffin,62 and several other gentlemen, came to him, and told him that it had been agreed that the cadets and many other persons should appear in arms the next evening, as a guard and security against a fresh riot, which was feared, and said to have been threatened, but not a man would appear unless Mackintosh was discharged. The Lieut. Governor asked, “and did you discharge him?” “Yes.” “Then you have not done your duty.” And this was all the notice taken of the discharge. The true reason of thus distinguishing Mackintosh was that he could discover who employed him; whereas the other persons apprehended were such as had collected together without knowing of any previous plan. It was plain the Governor thought the state of the province would not bear the execution of the law, and never moved for any other steps for a prosecution.63
It is not difficult to read between the lines, and perhaps in the entry itself, a feeling against Bernard, as consciously or subconsciously felt by Hutchinson. The Governor was a craven-hearted official, and having had advance notice that riots might occur that night, he had retired to Castle William, a safe place. Hutchinson, no doubt, felt that his superior should have stood by him with some show of fortitude, but in this he was disappointed.
In Hutchinson’s account of the riot, a number of features invite comment. If he intended to suggest that the patriot leaders countenanced or arranged for the riot, the innuendo is unsupported by any known evidence. It is not at all probable that any of the Whig political leaders would have prearranged violence of that type. Nobody anticipated such a complete destruction as occurred, but nobody knew how deep was the resentment of the common people, the democrats, against the officials of the colony, the aristocrats. Class feeling entered into that short reign of terror more than has been realized. If the patriots did not arrange for the riot, they at least were able to control their grief. Behind the refusal of Greenleaf to hold Mackintosh was public opinion. Greenleaf doubtless felt that an attempt to detain the shoemaker would lead to a worse riot, and there can be no doubt that an attempt to rescue him would have occurred at once. The Lieutenant Governor evidently regarded Mackintosh not as a principal but as an agent. To this day the principals, if there were any, are not known.64
A reward offered by Governor Bernard for the arrest of the leaders of the mob produced no results. There were many needy citizens in Boston who could have used the £300 offered, and anybody who took Mackintosh would have been entitled to that sum, but the shoemaker remained unmolested. There were many British sympathizers who so heartily hated the radical element that they would have done almost anything to bring trouble on the leader of the mob, but they lacked courage to initiate the arrest of Mackintosh. The theory that Boston merchants, who in past years had successfully smuggled in their goods and now since the enforcement of the revenue laws were being compelled to pay duty, connived at the rioting, must have some weight. It is significant that not only in this colony, but in others wherever smuggling previously had prevailed on a large scale and now was greatly reduced through the activity of revenue officials, the rioting was most marked. Many examples in support of this observation might be cited, but one will suffice, — Newport, Rhode Island, where violence was almost as severe as in Boston. In other words, the Stamp Act got a warm reception in the colonies where a stiffening of the backbone of revenue officers through a change of policy had made a dent in the pocket-books of the merchants, who in order to recoup themselves had been obliged to advance prices of commodities to their customers. The ultimate consumer always pays. It was some of the ultimate consumers who were rioters. If the man “higher up,” in this case the merchant, quietly dropped the hint that a little intimidation might help to restore the old easy conditions, when bribery was the accepted rule, it fell on willing ears. Mackintosh must bear the blame for his acts, but the responsibility for the uprising no doubt should rightfully be shared by some of the Boston merchants.
No serious efforts had ever been made to collect the duties of the Molasses Act of 1733, and so for a generation relaxation and petty corruption were the rule. It was only after the close of the French and Indian War, when England decided to revise its duties and to enforce their collection, that New England exhibited an ugly temper. Touch a man’s pocket-book and you touch his primal instincts. The efforts of the Customs officials to prevent the illicit trade, which they had laxly permitted for more than thirty years, were among the chief causes of the Stamp Act rioting. Governor Bernard wrote on this point in 1764: “if conniving at foreign sugar and molasses, and Portugal wines and fruit, is to be reckoned Corruption, there was never, I believe, an incorrupt Custom House official in America till within twelve months; and, therefore Incorruption in the best of them must be considered, not as a positive, but comparative term.”65 In this observation, from a high British official who must have known what the state of the province was, the key is found to the reason for the attacks upon the offices of Story, Hallowell, and Hutchinson. That Paxton’s house and the Custom House were two other intended points of attack but escaped, one through the special pleading of a friend and the other because too securely guarded, is also significant. With these conditions in mind, it is easier to understand why Mackintosh was not apprehended and jailed. Why arrest a shoemaker of most humble circumstances when the real offenders were the substantial merchants of the town, some of whom were known smugglers, Daniel Malcom and John Hancock, for instance? The list might be lengthened.
Mackintosh was not the only person who was arrested for the Hutchinson riot. A man whose surname was Moore was apprehended, and at least two others were committed to jail.66 Moore possibly was Hugh Moore, whose son Thomas Moore is known to have been in the Boston Tea Party eight years later. The identity of this group of rioters is a matter of conjecture. Early in October, before the trial of these men was due, a party of men entered the house of the jailer in the night, compelled him to deliver up the keys of the prison, which they opened and set the accused and other prisoners — seven or eight in all — at liberty. All this was effected without tumult or alarm to any except the jailer and his immediate family. The persons liberated kept out of sight for a time; “but there was no authority,” says Hutchinson, “which thought it advisable to make any inquiry after them.”67
There can be little doubt that many of the rioters at Hutchinson’s house were not Boston men, although the greater part of them probably came from the South End. The attack on these several houses had been whispered about for a day or so in advance. On the water front in particular this rumor was current. The Boston News Letter for November 7, 1765, hastens to pass the responsibility for the riots to outside parties, in the following account written in approval of the union celebration of Pope Day that year:
The Evening was more remarkable for Peace and Quietness than common; a circumstance that would at any Time redound to the Honor of the Town, but was still more agreeable, as the Fears of many were great least it should prove another 26th of August; for the horrid Violences of which Night we hope the good Order of this will in some Measure atone, as it is a proof such Conduct was not agreeable to the Sentiments of the Town, but was only the lawless Ravages of some Foreign Villians, who took Advantage of the overheated Temper, of a very few people of this Place, and drew them in to commit, such Violences and Disorders as they shuddered at with Horror in their cooler Hours (p. 1/3).
By “cooler hours” presumably is meant after the fumes of the Madeira wine had cleared from their brains. Eight pipes of wine were consumed from the Hutchinson cellar alone, and there was considerable wine at the sacking of Story’s house.
The ease with which Mackintosh secured his release from the sheriff is a striking commentary on the state of discipline in the town. Greenleaf was a tory, but he was an easy-going one. He continued to live in Boston after the Declaration of Independence. He seems ever to have moved along the lines of least resistance, and to have had some appreciation of the limits of authority in a town where public opinion did not support the execution of the law. Perhaps his liberal attitude toward political offenders saved him from being driven out of the town.
Because the Stamp Act riots of Boston occurred almost ten years before the American Revolution began, there has been a general disposition to minimize their importance. They are looked upon as disgraceful and almost indefensible. Granted their unpleasant features, it is significant that following the riot of August 14, 1765, when Oliver’s house was injured, a “union” or agreement was formed in town not to import any goods from England until the Stamp Act was repealed. This decision shows the influence of the merchants. It suggests that if they were not physically members of these disorderly crowds, they at least sympathized in a measure with the vengeance that the rabble directed against the officials engaged in enforcing the new revenue laws. So Hutchinson was right in regarding Mackintosh as an agent and not as a principal.
As might be expected, the protesting patriots formally observed the day which was set for the Stamp Act to go into operation — November 1. The effigies of George Grenville and John Huske were hung on Liberty Tree, where they remained until afternoon, when they were taken down, borne about the streets, and again hung up on the gallows on the Neck, and “after continuing some Time were cut down, when the Populace, in token of their utmost Detestation of the Men they were designed to represent, tore them to Pieces and flung their Limbs with Indignation into the Air.”68 Great fears were entertained before the arrival of Pope Day, four days later, lest there should be a duplication of the rioting of the preceding August 26th. These fears were entirely unfounded, due to the fact that influential persons took precautions to prevent disorder. It thus happened that on November 5 the two factions of the North End and South End harmonized and, after a friendly meeting in King Street, marched together to Liberty Tree. The leaders — Mackintosh of the South End and Samuel Swift of the North End — appeared in military habits, with small canes resting on their left arms, having music in front and at flank. All the property used on such occasions was afterward burned on Copp’s Hill.69 This shows that Mackintosh could be a force for order as well as disorder.
It is hard to say which was the more unpopular in Boston at the time of the Stamp Act, Hutchinson or Oliver. Probably the Lieutenant Governor was more generally detested by the patriots, but Oliver was a close second, and as time went on he did not improve his standing, as is seen by the fact that in 1772, when his body was being lowered into the grave, some irreverent townsman headed the giving of three cheers. The destruction of the building on King Street, in the course of the riot of August 14, 1765, which was supposed to be designed as a Stamp Office, and owned by Oliver, was regarded as a bit of effective work by the opponents of the Stamp Act, but the story went about the town, a little later, that Oliver intended to attempt to administer the office of distributor of stamps. This aroused the populace, and he was asked to make a declaration that he did not intend so to act. Accordingly Oliver gave out a statement to the Boston newspapers, disclaiming his intention to act under the Stamp Act. The statement read well enough and should have been satisfactory, but it was not so received and a more unequivocal declaration was demanded. Accordingly Oliver was summoned to appear at Liberty Tree,70 at 12 o’clock noon, December 17, 1765, and make a plain and acceptable statement of his intentions. Oliver tried to avoid such a public humiliation, but the Sons of Liberty were insistent and he had to yield. “It happened,” writes Drake, “to be a rainy and tempestuous day, and Mr. Oliver was obliged to march through the streets exposed to the weather. But what added, probably, not a little to his mortification, Mr. Mackintosh, a chief leader among the Liberty Party, attended him at his right hand to the Tree, at the head of an immense multitude.”71 Mr. Adams gives a brief but satisfying picture of what happened:
Although Andrew Oliver had resigned his office as distributor, he was forced by the Sons of Liberty, with much indignity, to appear at Liberty Tree on December 17th, and in the presence of two thousand people to declare on oath that he would never take any measures to enforce the act. The shoemaker, Mackintosh, the leader of the earlier rioters, stood at his right hand; no grand jury would consider the proceedings unlawful, and apparently they were instigated by the popular leaders. One of the remarkable features of the day was that the militia having refused to muster at the governor’s order, Mackintosh, who claimed to have one hundred and fifty trained men, took charge of the town and paraded the streets arm in arm with Colonel [William] Brattle, a member of Council, although known as the leader of the mob in various riots, including the destruction of the lieutenant-governor’s house.72
This certainly is a very interesting picture, both of the meeting at Liberty Tree and of its aftermath in which Brattle and Mackintosh fraternized. During the reading of Oliver’s disclaimer, Mackintosh stood at his right hand, not for the purpose of intimidating him but for the protection of the unlucky official on the colonial grill. As “Captain General of Liberty Tree” it doubtless was one of his duties to see that any tory who appeared by invitation, especially any there for the purpose of renouncing a royal appointment, was treated with some show of courtesy, and was at least not assaulted or given over to the mob to be tarred and feathered. Oliver was safer than he would have been if the Stamp Act rioter had not been on hand. It is significant that the selectmen and other town officers were spectators at the above described scene of renunciation under the elm, and it is apparent that public opinion was in favor of the action taken by the Sons of Liberty.
From this account and from the action taken by him at the time Hutchinson’s house was wrecked in seeing that the building was not set on fire, it is evident that Mackintosh, while believing in what we to-day call direct action and sabotage, was no mere brawler. He had qualities of leadership that fitted him to command the support of the crowd. If he had, as is said, a hundred and fifty men who were willing to be led by him, he had no mean following, and was a local power with which the authorities must reckon. Mackintosh’s appearance with Brattle may have been vanity, or it may have been due to the fact that Brattle had a good number of glasses of Madeira under his belt. The parade may have been done on impulse as a burlesque, but it is noteworthy that no riot occurred that day.
So busy had Ebenezer Mackintosh been in directing Pope Day celebrations, in seeing that riots were not turned into disastrous arson parties, in arranging that Liberty Tree should shed its light in proper effulgence, to say nothing of the daily task of making shoes, that he reached the age of twenty-nine before he was married. This is late in life for a colonist of that period to begin wedded bliss, but the delay may have been caused by the fact that he did not have enough money to warrant matrimony. It may be, however, that he was regarded as such an apostle of violence by the women of Boston that none of them took a chance until he was past the age of burning youth. At twenty-nine, however, he married into a good family, and it is noticeable that he did not unite with one of the South End girls, but with one from the North End, where his reputation supposedly was held in no high esteem, as broken heads on Pope Day could testify. His bride was Elizabeth Maverick, baptized December 25, 1743, daughter of Jotham and Mehitable (Banks) Maverick.73 The branch of the family into which he married was eminently respectable, but like himself not well endowed with worldly goods. Elizabeth and Ebenezer were married August 7, 1766,74 not quite a year after the wrecking of Hutchinson’s house and about six months after the sensational seizure of a Stamp Act clearance at the Custom House, the latter of which will be mentioned later. The ceremony was performed by no less a personage than the Rev. Andrew Eliot, minister of the New North Church. It was he who a year before had searched the muddy streets near Hutchinson’s house in a surprisingly successful effort to restore to the owner the manuscripts of historic value which had been scattered by the crowd.75 The fact that Mr. Eliot officiated at this wedding is something of a surprise. There is no other clew in the life of Ebenezer as to his church preference, if he had any, but being of Scotch stock, he perhaps was a dissenter in religion. At any rate the Mavericks were Congregationalists and Elizabeth was married by her pastor.
Two children were born of this marriage: Elizabeth, born December 12, 1767, and Paschal Paoli, born March 31, 1769.76 Both lived to maturity and have numerous descendants, but so far as is known not a single descendant of Ebenezer lives in Boston or vicinity. Apparently married life steadied Mackintosh, for nothing is found recorded against him from that day until the time of the Boston Tea Party, so for about seven years he either stayed his hand or acted cautiously, in spite of numerous temptations, for there were plenty of riots in Boston between 1766 and 1773. The Liberty sloop riot of June 10, 1768, when the houses of revenue officers were damaged, caused a great commotion in town, but there is no mention of Mackintosh as a participant, and the British would have been quick to put the blame on him, if they could. Perhaps Elizabeth Maverick exacted a pledge of orderly public conduct from Ebenezer before she consented to the wedding; at any rate, it was not until after she was dead that he seems to have resumed his avocation of master of destruction.
Selection of the name Paschal Paoli for his child, as already indicated, was a tribute to the Corsican revolutionary leader whose name was on the lip of many patriotic citizens at this period. Toasts to Paoli were common, towns were named for him, and for a short time he was a hero to the radical colonists in America. On March 10, 1769, a patriotic group met at a tavern in Philadelphia in commemoration of Paoli’s birthday. The Sons of Liberty in Boston often spoke and wrote about Paoli, and it is no surprise that children should be named in his honor. The Boston Evening Post for April 24, 1769, issued less than a month after the birth of Mackintosh’s child, has this item: “A person in this town lately had a child baptized by the name of Paschal Paoli.” Probably this referred to the addition to Ebenezer’s family, but it may have referred to some other family, for the name is by no means extremely rare.77 The name Pascal (thus spelled) has been carried on in the Mackintosh family, but the Paoli has disappeared.
While Ebenezer seems to have been leading a reasonably quiet family life, one incident must have embittered him more than ever against the British. This was the Boston Massacre, which occurred March 5, 1770, in which one of the victims was Samuel Maverick, a half-brother of his wife Elizabeth. This young man was only seventeen years old, and his death seems to have been more of an accident than that of some of the others who were out that night for trouble. Maverick had only just left a house that was near, and had arrived at the scene of the turbulence, when a bullet laid him low and he died the next day. Doubtless the loss of this promising young man, for he was well regarded, did not improve Mackintosh’s disposition. Incidentally it may be observed that Mackintosh himself was not a participant in the Boston Massacre.
Emphasis has been laid on the fact that Mackintosh was of Scottish extraction. Quite a number of the Scots of Boston supported the British official régime, but that there was a division of opinion is evident from a letter written November 24, 1774. This extract follows:
It is great injustice to the Patriots on your side of the water to charge the Scots here with being enemies to the Americans. A Scotch shoemaker was the leader of all our mobs during the time of the Stamp-act, which pulled down the Stamp Office, demolished the Lieutenant Governor’s house, and broke into the Secretary’s, and forced him to Liberty Tree, where they swore him out of office. This person, whose name is Mackintosh, has ever since continued a leading man among us. Another Scotchman, whose name is H—p,78 (originally a weaver from Haddington, a small town somewhere in the south of Scotland, but who left Glasgow in the year 1746, from an apprehension of the prophecies of Thomas, a Rhymer,79 being nearly accomplished) has also made a considerable figure among us in our late disturbances. This man, naturally of a superstitious turn of mind, brought with him to America all the necessary qualifications for a New England saint80 of the first order; and he has not hid his talent in a napkin. Having been very successful in trade, he purchased an estate in Brooklyne, a few miles from this town; and pretending to be a friend to government, he got himself made a Justice of the Peace by Governor Bernard; but was no sooner appointed, than he acted in direct opposition to his former pretences. He was Moderator of the town meetings at Brooklyne, where he lives; was of the Committee of Correspondence, and one of the Committee that came in from the neighboring towns to assist and advise with the metropolis on the destruction of the teas. This Justice of the Peace had too much prudence, and too much regard for his own person, to go on board the ships himself; but it is certain he came into Boston, and lent his advice, and the tea was accordingly destroyed. In all our late commotions he has professed himself on the side of the saints, and an enemy to the British merchants. He will soon go to Great Britain, and has promised to tell the people of England that they are imposed upon; and the merchants that they must be ruined, if the Parliament pretend to usurp any authority over our House of Assembly. While he remains in Britain, he will, I suppose, reside at Glasgow, where you will have an opportunity of seeing this Scotch American patriot. By the vessel which will bring you this letter, I shall send a packet of news-papers; so need not repeat to you any of our publick news; they will come to you without any postage, as she is bound for the Clyde. I hope you will make this public, that the stains that have been thrown upon the Scotch in New England, for their want of patriotism, and for their taking part with Government, may be wiped off.81
For four generations tradition has preserved in the Mackintosh family the account of an incident occurring in Boston in the Stamp Act era, in which Ebenezer Mackintosh figured, which it is possible to identify with reasonable certainty. This account as related by Mrs. Grace Arabella Gray of Northfield, Minnesota, great-great-granddaughter of Ebenezer, before the Josiah Edson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, at a meeting in December, 1922, is as follows:
Ebenezer was a leader in many acts considered by the Mother Country as highly rebellious. As far as we know his first recorded doings are in connection with the Stamp Act, 1765. He and his patriotic companions, “the Sons of Liberty,” conceived the idea of seizing the Stamp Act Papers one evening from the British officers who were having a meeting there in a hall in Boston. On arriving at the door, the fellows with him were chary about going in, so left. Mackintosh entered alone and demanded the papers. The presiding officer white with fear promptly delivered the document into his hands. He passed out with no delay and later with his companions made a bonfire of it. The British officers were amazed at such boldness, but did not dare to harm him, thinking he must be backed by a large force outside.
After a careful survey of the various Boston events of the Stamp Act period, of which there is known record, it seems probable that the foregoing incident happened on Monday, February 24, 1766. No other known occurrence so well fits the Mackintosh family tradition, although the news accounts of the events of that day reveal some variations from the foregoing account. The patriots in practically all the colonies began to stage demonstrations against enforcement of the Stamp Act, soon after it went into effect, November 1, 1765. The custom of these remonstrants was curiously uniform and shows that the patriots read the current newspapers with care, and copied each other’s methods. The plan usually was to seize a document to which one of the stamps had been affixed or was imprinted and burn it after public or semi-public exercises. Throughout the colonies by agreement, February 20, 1766, had been selected as a day on which Stamp Act papers would be publicly burned. On that day some papers were burned in Boston with due solemnity,82 and previously on February 14 some were burned on Boston Neck. In neighboring towns, particularly Salem,83 Marblehead, Newburyport,84 Newport, Rhode Island,85 and in New London, Connecticut,86 there were exciting scenes of Stamp Act conflagrations at about this time. In Boston, on Monday, February 24, 1766, there occurred the incident in which Mackintosh is thought to have figured. On Saturday, February 22, there arrived in Boston from Jamaica a vessel of which Captain Thacher was in charge. His ship had a clearance, issued in the West Indies, which was on stamped paper. Soon after his arrival this news reached the ears of the local patriotic organization calling itself “the True-Born Sons of Liberty” and its members took appropriate action. As a result of the conference among themselves, a request for action was issued in writing to one of their resolute members. This request, as printed in the Boston News Letter of February 27, 1766 (page 3/2), reads as follows:
Boston, 24th Feb. 1766.
Monday, XI o’clock
THE Sons of Liberty being informed that a Vessel has arrived here with stamped clearances from Jamaica, desire that you would go and demand in their Names those marks of Creole Slavery; and when you have obtained them, commit to the Flames in King-Street, This Day at one o’clock; and for so doing this shall be your warrant.
Signed, by Order of the True-born SONS of LIBERTY.
M. Y. Sec.
Whereupon the Person to whom the above was directed, with a Number of others, immediately on the Receipt thereof, repaired to the Vessel, and being told the Captain was gone to enter at the Custom-House, they proceeded thither; when the above Warrant being shewn, the said stamped Clearance was delivered to them; they then fixed it on a Pole, and carried it to the lower End of the Court-House, where they put the Pole in the Stocks, and exposed the Paper to publick view until the Time appointed for Execution: At one o’clock the Warrant was read with an audible Voice, the Executioner then carried the guilty Criminal to the Centre of King-Street, and with a lighted Match set Fire to one of the S—–p-A—ts, and with that burnt the Offspring of the Hydraheaded Monster; while the Smoak was ascending the Executioner pronounced the following Words, viz. — “Behold! The Smoak ascends to Heaven, to witness between the Isle of Britain and an injured People!” — Three Cheers were then given and the Change clear in a few Minutes, without the least Disorder.87
It seems altogether probable that it was Ebenezer Mackintosh who went to the Custom House with this mandate of the True Born Sons of Liberty. If so, it was to him that the stamped clearance was delivered, since he was alone. He may also have been the so-called “Executioner,” but there is no evidence on that point. In view of Mackintosh’s prominence in the destruction of Hutchinson’s house, and his subsequent release from arrest, naturally he would be one of the first considered for such an errand. Having established his immunity from arrest on a previous and more trying occasion, he could be depended upon to take care of himself and perform the desired service, in a relatively unimportant enterprise. Such would be the line of reasoning. The True Born Sons of Liberty counted on results, and they were not disappointed when Ebenezer was involved. After a careful study of this incident and of others which might possibly refer to the traditionary account, it would seem, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it was Ebenezer who performed this deed of daring. It was such a public event that no newspaper at that period would omit mention of it, and an examination of the newspapers of 1765 and 1766 produces nothing that can fit in so many respects the tradition of the Mackintosh family.
There are some variations, however, between the news account and the family version, and they deserve to be mentioned. The tradition says there was a meeting in a hall. That variation is not serious, since it may well have been that the arrival of a stamped clearance would call the customs officials together to consider the situation. Mackintosh may have arrived just as the deliberations were under way. The tradition, however, that the affair happened in the evening is too important to be explained except on the ground that the tradition is in error on that point. There is the bare possibility that Mackintosh demanded and secured the paper on the previous night, but the fact that his mandate is dated Monday, and that Sunday night presumably was not a time when the British officials would be holding a session, gives little weight to such a supposition. The tradition, so well sustained by the news account in other respects, must be judged to be wrong in the time at which the incident is said to have occurred. Not many traditions which come down only by word of mouth for four generations will stand such a critical test.88 In another respect the tradition of the family coincides with the news event related. The family believe him to have been an active Son of Liberty, and this deed was initiated by that organization. He was a militant member of this group of patriots and he named his first-born son Paschal Paoli, a name that would not have been selected had he not been an enthusiastic radical.
So far as public acts are concerned, nothing in Mackintosh’s known record after the Stamp Act period and until the Boston Tea Party requires comment. Much weight should be given to the Mackintosh family tradition that he participated in the Boston Tea Party. Descendants of children by his first wife, and by his second wife as well, living somewhat widely apart, have the same story, namely, that he was an active participant in the affair. Inasmuch as this information originally came from Mackintosh himself, in the absence of contradictory statements it must be given a full measure of credence. In later years Mackintosh repeatedly claimed that he was the leader of the Tea Party. He was not its originator, but that he had a hand in the affair seems reasonably certain.
Benjamin B. Thatcher, writing in 1835, when seven or eight of the participants in the Tea Party were living, gives a Mackintosh as being in the party, but the given name is omitted.89 This omission has permitted writers to conjecture that Peter Mackintosh was in the party, but Peter Mackintosh was only about fifteen years old at that time, and the earlier record for violence, established by Ebenezer, gives weight to the theory that the Mackintosh named was the Stamp Act rioter returned to his old trade.90 The Boston Tea Party was a most serious affair, a very bold piece of work, and just the kind of an undertaking that would have appealed to the daring Mackintosh. This event was much talked about in England and in all the other colonies. Great efforts were made by the British to connect Hancock and Adams with the plans for destroying the tea. Perhaps Mackintosh knew more about the origin of the affair than the leaders liked. At any rate Mackintosh left town some months later. Many years afterward, about 1810, he said to a young man named Schuyler Merrill of Haverhill, New Hampshire, in speaking of the Tea Party: “It was my chickens that did the job.” This remark was not then understood by Merrill, who was only ten years old, but in later years its full significance came to him.
Some time between the date of the Tea Party, December 16, 1773, and the following summer, when the Boston Port Bill and other parliamentary repressive measures had gone into effect, Mackintosh left Boston, and so far as is known never returned. He thus missed Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill, doubtless greatly to his regret, when he heard of those conflicts. It was time that Mackintosh left Boston, for if any resident had shown open treason, he was the one. The British had evidence against him, had long had it, but had merely not found it expedient to take any action. It is true that when compensation was voted to Hutchinson and the other sufferers from riots in 1765, a clause was attached to the measure, pardoning any offenders or participants in those violent scenes, but this clause was not inserted particularly to shield Mackintosh and his associates from prosecution, but was designed to release from thraldom some clients of Joseph Hawley, who had been convicted of disturbances in the Berkshire district of this colony, at the time of the Stamp Act, and who had gone to jail rather than pay a fine. Mackintosh, however, was saved from prosecution by the exemption clause in the act granting compensation.
The Mackintosh family tradition is that the British offered a reward for him dead or alive. This is understood to have been after the Tea Party. No known handbill or executive order makes any offer for his capture. It is perfectly plain that it was as necessary for him to get out of Boston as it was for Hancock and Adams at a slightly later period to leave the town. The British would have enjoyed deporting all three of them, and others as well. Indeed, a rumor that their deportation had been ordered soon became current. This news item, taken from a London paper of April 7, 1774, was reprinted in the Massachusetts Spy of May 19:
It may be depended on that a sloop of war sailed from Plymouth 14 days since for Boston, with orders to bring to England, in irons, Messrs. Hancock, Row, Adams, and McIntosh; the latter has been very active among the lower order of people, and the other among the higher.
Should government kidnap and bring over as prisoners the leading patriots at Boston, it is much to be feared it will cause an insurrection.91
Mackintosh, accordingly, left Boston, and in so doing probably acted with prudence.
A modern Boston author, James H. Stark, who sympathized with the loyalists of the Revolutionary period, referring to the Boston Port Bill and other repressive parliamentary measures says:
That these Acts of the British Parliament at this time was necessary is beyond question, for there was a mob in Revolutionary Boston at this time, scarcely less foul-mouthed, pitiless, unscrupulous, than that which roared for the blood of the Bourbons in revolutionary Paris, or that of the Communes of later times. Mackintosh and his crew were unmistakably in evidence, certainly not restrained, but connived at by the better men, so that those just as conscientious and patriotic, who tried by lawful ways to oppose, found destruction for their property imminent; and could feel that their lives were secure only when they had fled down the harbor to the Castle.92
This comment is not entirely fair, but it has some force. However, the Boston rioters of the Stamp Act period never killed anyone. They directed their attention almost entirely to the destruction of property belonging to British officials. One reason why no fatalities ever occurred in these riots was because the objects of the mob’s wrath always fled. The Paris mob to which the Boston rioters are compared was actuated by hunger, whereas the Boston building-wreckers caused the ravage in support of what they deemed to be patriotic principles. Each demonstration staged was an object lesson.
When Mackintosh left Boston, it is known that his wife had died, and it seems probable that he was thinking more of the safety of his two motherless children than of his own possible peril. The tradition of the family is that he walked through the forests until he came to Haverhill, Grafton County, New Hampshire, a town on the Connecticut River distant in an air line about a hundred and fifty miles from Boston, and a considerably greater distance by any route which he may have taken. He presumably started northward sometime in the spring or summer of 1774. He took his two children with him, leading Elizabeth, aged about seven, by the hand and carrying Paschal Paoli, aged about five, in his arms. His route is not known, and it is not known whether when he left Boston he even knew what his destination might be. If Mackintosh passed through the town of Groton, Massachusetts, about thirty miles northwest of Boston, he may have there learned that his old army associate, Captain Ephraim Wesson, whom he must have known in the campaign of 1758, had settled in Haverhill, New Hampshire, and may have heard favorable accounts of the future of that town. In any event, he finally reached Haverhill. This was before September 27, 1774, for on that date his name is affixed as a witness to a contract to build a house, executed in Newbury, Vermont, which town is across the Connecticut River at a nearly opposite point.
This journey through the wilderness, encumbered as he was with two small children and carrying his shoemaking implements, was a remarkable feat. Perhaps he travelled by easy stages from settlement to settlement, and no doubt he was assisted by kindly pioneers whom he met, but the undertaking, nevertheless, was a most difficult task. The brief published accounts of Mackintosh’s life, in the History of Ryegate, Vermont, a town across the river from Haverhill, but a little farther north, in which Mackintosh lived for a time, and in the History of Haverhill, both intimate that he was obliged to leave Boston by “men higher up,” who feared that he might talk too much about the Boston Tea Party. It was a decided change for Mackintosh to leave a town of fifteen thousand inhabitants, one of the largest towns on the continent, and move to a settlement in the wilds of New Hampshire containing less than four hundred people. He at once began to ply his trade as shoemaker not only in Haverhill but in the adjacent towns. He presented a claim for shoemaking against the estate of John Hazen, who died in Haverhill, September 23, 1774, so it is evident that he was well settled at that time. Thereafter he was busy at his trade and probably placed his children in the home of some kindly settler. It is known that his daughter Elizabeth, when grown up, was in the family of General Moses Dow. His son Paschal Paoli emigrated to northeastern Ohio about 1786, and must have been one of the very early settlers in that part of the state known as the Western Reserve.
The story of Mackintosh’s life in Haverhill and vicinity reveals nothing of his former genius for leadership, nor is there any known event of violence in which he was involved. His circumstances ever remained humble; in fact it was practically impossible for a shoemaker in those days to acquire more than a modest competence. He took part in town affairs at Haverhill, and in 1782, 1783, and 1784 was elected sealer of leather. He held no other town office and seems not to have owned any real estate at a time when land was cheap.
For ten years after he arrived in Haverhill, Mackintosh remained unmarried, but his children having grown up, on November 11, 1784, he was married to Elizabeth Chase of that town, a widow, and the census of 1790 records them as being a family of five — two boys and a girl. This total probably records three children by his wife’s first marriage. The only children whose births are on record are John Mackintosh, born December 20, 1791, and David Mackintosh, born July 26, 1794.93 There was another child named Moses, probably born after David, but whose birth is not recorded in Haverhill. All three of these sons later removed to Ohio and settled near their half-brother. David became quite prominent, served in the Ohio Legislature, and was active in military affairs. When he died he left a provision in his will that American flags should be purchased for each town in Portage County, the county in which Shalersville, the town in which he lived, is located.
Early in the summer of 1777, it was known in the northern colonies that General Burgoyne was planning to strike a blow from the northward. There was great anxiety in the towns along the valley of the Connecticut River for fear that Burgoyne would send his army, or a part of it, by that route. This fear, as it finally proved, was unfounded, but New Hampshire and Vermont — to give the latter, then the New Hampshire Grants, its present name — as a measure of safety, called out all their available military forces. On this occasion Ebenezer Mackintosh enrolled in the service as a private, but saw no fighting. General Jacob Bayley of Newbury, Vermont, headed a brigade in the Eastern Division of the Northern Department under the command of General Horatio Gates. It was in a company attached to Bayley’s brigade that Mackintosh was enrolled. The company94 to which he belonged was captained by Joseph Hutchins of Haverhill, the chief tavern keeper of the town, and some of the most prominent citizens, thirty-four in all, enlisted at this time. Mackintosh served from August 18 to October 6. The battle of Bennington occurred August 16, 1777, and although it was a complete victory for the Continentals, fear that Burgoyne might send more detachments into Vermont, or into the Connecticut River valley, may have caused the raising of Captain Hutchins’s company. Burgoyne did not surrender until October 17, but his ultimate defeat was indicated some weeks before that time. That is the reason why Captain Hutchins’s force was disbanded eleven days before that event, and perhaps three weeks before the news of the capture reached them. For the service performed at this time Mackintosh was paid £5.7.11.
On at least one other occasion Mackintosh was in the field, that being in October, 1780. This was a brief service as a scout. The record does not state in what the scouting consisted, but known historic events in northern Vermont in October, 1780, probably indicate the scene of his services. Early in that month Major Guy Carleton sailed down Lake Champlain from the north, with a force of about a thousand British soldiers, including Loyalists and Indians. He captured Fort Ann and Fort George on Lake Champlain, and alarm spread throughout northern New England. At about this time Lieutenant Horton and a party of about three hundred, most of whom were Indians, ascended the Onion (Winooski) River and, on October 16, penetrated to Royalton, Vermont, which they burned, killed two people, took captive thirty persons, and made a rapid retreat.95 Royalton was less than thirty miles from Haverhill, and it seems probable that the scouting duty of Mackintosh and several other Haverhill men was an effort to find out whether other British forces were in that neighborhood or might be expected. Mackintosh was paid eighteen shillings for his service, which was rendered in his fiftieth year.96 This is an indication that he was vigorous and thoroughly trusted.
Nothing will better illustrate the hardy qualities and self-reliance of Mackintosh than the fact that in 1802, when he was sixty-five years old, he walked from New Hampshire to Mantua, in the northeastern section of Ohio, to visit his son Paschal. On this long journey he had with him his son David, then only eight years old. Later he returned to Haverhill, leaving David, having walked the entire distance. This was a journey of not less than thirteen hundred miles through forests. Probably he travelled by easy stages and went from settlement to settlement plying his trade as shoemaker on the trip. The undertaking, however, was such as only a capable and resourceful man of that advanced age would have attempted. A little later David returned to New Hampshire to complete his education, but after some years went back to Ohio.
Mackintosh’s oldest son, Paschal Paoli, of Mantua, a small town in Ohio, seems to have lost touch with his father as the years passed, and to have developed a deeply religious state of mind. He may have been influenced by some revivalist. The following letter, written when he was fifty-seven years old to his sister in Ryegate, Vermont, is that of a man who is brooding on the thought of his approaching end. It is the only letter from him preserved in the Mackintosh family. The text follows:
My Dear & only sister.
I recd your agreeable Letter of August — 1823. I rejoicd to learn that you, Mr. Bigelow, & all the family were in health, that four of your children were honourably married, & settled near you in comfortable circumstances. We have eight children, the oldest is 23, the youngest 8. None of them are married. We have had nine, the youngest died three years ago, aged 3½ years. I will give you the names of our children in order, I wish you to do the same by me: Laura, John W., Amanda, Hannah, William F., Mary, David S., Jerome, Norman. I am greatly comforted concerning Norman, because I believe, that through the mercy of God in Christ Jesus all Infants dying in Infancy, will surely be sav’d. Our remaining children are in health, but do not appear to manifest serious concern for the salvation of their souls; O my sister; pray for them, & for your brother, & sister.
You have given me good counsel from time to time in your Letters, you have warned, & admonished me, O that your labor of love may not be lost upon me. About twenty years ago your sister, & I, were convinced (by the Grace of God) that we were in a very dangerous situation, on account of our sinfulness of heart & life. We were assisted by the spirit of God, so to repent, so to believe, & seek for mercy, by humble prayers, at the feet of Jesus, that we rec’d a hope of the remission of our sins; we often had peace, & joy, through believing; we have at some seasons, had such assurance of our acceptance with God, & of an interest in Christ, that all fear of death, & hell were removed.
We join’d the Methodist Church nearly twenty years ago, but we have been unfaithfull, we have often turnd aside from the holy commandment deliver’d unto us, & we have not now that evidence of our acceptance with God that we have had in times past; we do not however despair of mercy, we endeavour to use such means of grace, as God has appointed. Pray for us that God woud revive his work in our souls. There is reason to fear that the Methodist people as a body are falling, and becoming more & more conformd to this world; O, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord upon all his Churches of every denomination.
I desire to see you, but it is not probable that I ever shall in this world, & if I shoud, time has made such alterations in your appearance, that I shoud hardly believe you to be that sister, which I beheld with a pleasing sorrow, at our last parting twenty three, or four years ago. Neither shou’d I appear to you like that boy, that bid you farewell, & left you in tears, (at Gen. Dow’s97) more than forty years since; to go & seek his fortune in lands to him unknown. You saw him no more, for six long years …
You kept a lock of my hair when I was a youth, to remember me by, you wou’d find now no similarity between that hair, & these white locks, which have been ever since bleeching in the wind. When you saw me last, I was in the prime of life, & vigour of manhood. Were you to see me now, you wou’d cry out, O, Time! What hast thou done? Is this Pascal? Is this my brother? O, how chang’d! — Yes, my sister, I am now a poor, old, one eyed man. I lost my right eye ten years ago, by a wheat-beard, when reaping. I find my mental, as well as bodily faculties, are fast failing, my memory has greatly faild, I am easily overcome by care, & am subject to perplexity, anxiety, discontent, uneasiness, & sometimes fretfullness of mind, without being able to tell the particular cause. O, my dear sister! God only can help our infirmities let us look to him, let us give up ourselves to him, just as we are, praying, & endeavouring, that he may make us new creatures in Christ Jesus, that we may die happy, & have inheritance among his saints, in his kingdom which is not of this world, where evil or sorrow can never come; but where all is love, & joy & peace. O, may you, & I, & all yours, & mine, & all for whom we shou’d pray, be prepard to meet together there, to worship God, in the beauty of holiness, and enjoy his love forever.
All my Brothers have good farms near me, and are doing well, for this world, they are moral, but they do not appear to extend their views beyond this world. Moses is yet unmarried.
Your sister, & all our children desire to be remembered by you, & all your family. I wrote to our Father, in 1814. (soon after my brothers returnd here, from Vermont) I am anxious to know whether he receiv’d the communication,98 before his death; I likewise wish you to inform me, if you are able, concerning the state of his mind in his last moments.
I remain, Dear sister, your loving, & only brother.
Pascal P. M’Intosh99
Mantua May 1st 1826.
Elizabeth Mackintosh, the first child, who, when only seven years old, made that trip of a hundred and fifty miles with her father through the wilderness to Haverhill, was married in 1786 to Jabez Bigelow, shoemaker, tavern keeper, and farmer. He was a son of Jabez and Deborah (Knowlton) Bigelow of Newbury, Vermont. They removed to Ryegate, Vermont, a town about ten miles north of Newbury, and had eleven children. Ryegate was settled in 1773 by a colony from Scotland,100 and the atmosphere must have been congenial for Ebenezer, on account of his Scotch extraction. It is in Caledonia County, so called because of early predominating Scotch influences in that part of Vermont. At one time Mackintosh lived in Ryegate with his daughter.101
Not much is known about Mackintosh’s personal appearance, but when he was an old man he was described as being “of slight build, sandy complexion and nervous temperament.”102 This description while brief and somewhat disappointing prevents the visualizing of a huge burly and fierce figure. A riot leader is not necessarily a man of bulking stature, but it is natural in the absence of data to imagine a man of commanding size to qualify as leader of a mob. The dominating character of any mob leader must be his spirit and his intelligence. It was Mackintosh’s spirit, his nerve, that made him foremost in any forum where determination or violence had a place. It is probable that Mackintosh was a social and companionable man, alert and vigorous, and that as he stitched the shoes for his customers he chatted with them about the state of the country, and perhaps recited some poetry for the entertainment of those who were about him. A short sketch of him says that in his later years “he talked too much” — a fault not confined to the Mackintosh family.103
Although no monument or memorial to Ebenezer Mackintosh stands in Boston, there is in North Haverhill, New Hampshire, what purports to be a monument erected to his memory. This was placed there under rather unusual circumstances. It appears that in 1913 officers of the Coosuck Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in North Haverhill received from the estate of John B. Peaslee of Cincinnati, Ohio, a gift of $75, which had been left by him in his will to erect a monument to “Philip Mackintosh,” of Revolutionary fame. Mr. Peaslee had formerly lived in Plaistow, New Hampshire, and is said to have known about the lack of a memorial to Mackintosh. The given name as furnished by the Peaslee estate was Philip, and the officers of the local organization erected a monument to Mackintosh and inscribed it as directed. If Ebenezer Mackintosh was ever known by that given name it was within a small circle. There is the family tradition that he did change his name, but the evidence that he was known as Ebenezer in New Hampshire, in Haverhill and vicinity, is overwhelming. He signed a contract as a witness at Newbury, Vermont, in 1774, as Ebenezer, presented a bill to the estate of John Hazen in North Haverhill, in 1774, as Ebenezer, was a soldier in the uprising to repel Burgoyne in 1777 as Ebenezer, was sealer of leather in Haverhill town records as Ebenezer in 1782–1784, and was in the Census of 1790 as Ebenezer. The “Philip” is plainly wrong.
The tablet is of sandstone four feet high, twenty-six inches wide at the base, tapering to twenty-three inches at the top. It is about a foot in thickness. In the centre of the stone is set a marble slab on which appears this inscription:
A leader of
Boston Tea Party
It would seem as if in the interest of historical accuracy the name Ebenezer should be substituted on the tablet for Philip. Mr. Peaslee, who made the tablet possible, never knew Mackintosh, for they were not contemporaries.
The “Hurlbutt House” mentioned in the inscription was on the poor farm of Haverhill. The town sold Ebenezer Mackintosh’s services about 1810 or 1811 by auction and the manager of the poor farm, Elisha Hurlbutt,105 bought him, and there he remained until he died. With four prosperous sons in Ohio, one of whom visited him in 1814, and with a daughter and several grandchildren living in nearby Ryegate, Vermont, it is hard to understand why their father and grandfather was thus permitted to spend his last years. The true explanation may be that he was then too old to go to Ohio, and he may have preferred to remain where he was. To the present generation his end seems melancholy.
Mackintosh is buried in Horse Meadow Cemetery, which is located between North Haverhill and Woodsville, New Hampshire. At the time the monument was erected his grave could not be identified, and so the stone was placed on the site of the house where he died.
In the early part of this study of Mackintosh emphasis was laid upon his basic Scottish extraction, and the violence and fighting through which generations of his Clan passed. The purpose of introducing those details was to permit the reader to join in the conclusion that Ebenezer Mackintosh was not a vicious and ignorant malefactor, not a man who deserves to be dismissed with the descriptive phrase “the rioter,” but a man born with a militant nature within him, with a fighting impulse and the spirit to champion the cause he thought to be right. He regarded the colonists as right in resisting British misrule, and he acted in accordance with that belief. Three generations of quiet toiling Dedham yeomen preceded him, and then he developed in an era of stirring times. Crises appeared when direct action was demanded. He rose readily on these occasions, and fearing nothing, acted with a daring that stamps him as sprung from the Mackintoshes of old, the men of the Highlands, who lead, who defy if necessary, but who never willingly yield. Some of Mackintosh’s acts cannot well be defended, but in most of his acts he appears to have been supported by that intangible but ever powerful force — public opinion.106