Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Gaspee

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Of the citizen leaders, Capt. Whipple and Moses Brown were most severely hurt, and letters of their wives testify the bewilderment which their reticence and close guarding of their bandages produced. Psychologically every participant was aged, sobered, and shaken. It is fortunate that they were all strong men of action and simple, orthodox religionists, for with more subtle introspectiveness and mental complexity they would have fared ill indeed. President Manning was the most disturbed; but even he outgrew the darkest shadow, and smothered memories in prayers. Every man of those leaders had a stirring part to play in later years, and it is perhaps fortunate that this is so. Little more than a twelvemonth afterward Capt. Whipple led the mob who burnt the revenue ship Gaspee, and in this bold act we may trace one step in the blotting out of unwholesome images.


For many years after the Revolution four survivors of the Gaspee affair were conspicuous figures on all patriotic occasions in Providence invariably appearing in Fourth of July parades These four men were Turpin Smith Ephraim Bowen Benjamin Page John Mawney The banner which they carried faded and torn may still be seen in the collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society There also may be seen a silver goblet taken from the Gaspee by Abraham Whipple on the morning of June 10 1772 Perhaps we can close this account of the destruction of the Gaspee no more fittingly than by quoting in full a song descriptive of the deed written by some lively patriot of the time ...

p.13, 14

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