A True Republican: The Life of Paul Revere

By Jayne E. Triber | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
"IN MY LAST STAGE, HOW BLEST AM I, TO FIND CONTENT AND PLENTY BY"

IN 1798 PAUL REVERE, respected businessman and citizen, received the additional honor of historical recognition when he provided some "facts, and Anecdotes, prior to the Battle of Lexington, which I do not remember to have seen in any history of the American Revolution" to Jeremy Belknap, the corresponding secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Revere signed both his name and the signature "A Son of Liberty of the year 1775," with the instruction "do not print my name," but Belknap was sufficiently impressed by his narrative to publish it in the society's Collections in 1798 under the heading "A Letter from Col. Revere to the Corresponding Secretary." Belknap omitted Revere's grandiose introduction and his account of his activities as a courier before April 1775, but he kept Revere's self-congratulatory statement that he was offering a unique perspective "of some matters, of which no person but my self have documents, or knowledge," including observations on the conduct and character of the traitorous Dr. Benjamin Church. With the publication of Revere's letter, Belknap acknowledged that the historical contributions of Paul Revere were as worthy of veneration as those of Samuel Adams, John Adams, or John Hancock.1

Political events in 1798 brought temporary political prosperity to President John Adams and more lasting economic prosperity to Paul Revere. The publication of the XYZ Papers in April 1798 detailed the French government's request for a bribe from American envoys before opening negotiations over grievances arising from France's seizure of American vessels and confiscation of their cargoes. In the ensuing atmosphere of patriotism and war hysteria, Congress revoked all treaties with France, appropriated money for the completion of frigates first authorized in 1794, and approved a system of harbor defenses, a provisional army of 10,000 men

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