William Hickling Prescott

By C. Harvey Gardiner | Go to book overview
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Mr. and Mrs. Prescott request the honour ...

WITH CHARACTERISTIC ACTIVITY, Boston seethed that summer, the summer that ushered in the third year of the second war between Englishmen and Americans. 1 Gliding to and from the wharves on the east and northeast side of town were sailing vessels of the world. India Wharf identified one dimension of her commerce; and Long Wharf hinted at the draining and filling which would enlarge the town at the expense of the Atlantic. In adjacent shipyards hammers and saws noisily increased the merchant tonnage of the eighteen-state American Union. Beacon Hill, already shorn of its light, was losing altitude to an antlike procession of two-wheeled tipcarts. In 1814 expanding Boston was home to thirty-odd thousand citizens.

The community keenly sensed the issues behind this second struggle with England. To many Federalists the war was the catastrophic climax to the misguided policies of territorial acquisition and commercial restriction which favored boisterous newer sections of the country.

The composite glimpse of Boston which follows derives from the newspapers Boston Daily Advertiser, Boston Gazette, Boston Patriot, Columbian Centinel, Evening Gazette and General Advertiser, Independent Chronicle, New-England Palladium, The Repertory, The Weekly Messenger, The Yankee; Justin Winsor , ed., The Memorial History of Boston, 4 vols. ( Boston, 1881), vol. 4; and Walter Muir Whitehill, Boston: A Topographical History ( Cambridge, 1959).

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