Boston under Military Rule (1768-1769): As Revealed in a Journal of the Times

Boston under Military Rule (1768-1769): As Revealed in a Journal of the Times

Boston under Military Rule (1768-1769): As Revealed in a Journal of the Times

Boston under Military Rule (1768-1769): As Revealed in a Journal of the Times

Excerpt

This JOURNAL OF THE TIMES is a unique historical document. In most cases the historian has to reconstruct past events from a series of fragmentary accounts, such as personal letters, diaries, journals, memoranda of commercial transactions, and official documents. Many of these were not prepared for publication, and few of them were intended to give a distant public a continuous picture of events over a considerable period of time.

In a JOURNAL OF THE TIMES, however, we have a day-to-day record of happenings that were politically significant to the whole British empire, prepared consciously for publication by a group of men who intended to supply definite, concrete pictures of conditions in the town where they were living. To add to its uniqueness and its importance as a moulder of public opinion, the English-speaking world had no other common source of information concerning what was happening in Boston; hence it was dependent upon this account to learn the policies of Government and their effects at the most important trouble center of the time in the entire empire.

One must keep in mind the setting that produced this document. In 1768 only five years had elapsed since the close of the greatest world war up to that time. England had become the undisputed mistress of the seas and head of the second greatest colonial empire, with unprecedented taxation and debt problems as a part of the price of glory. Hence, across the difficulties of post-war reconstruction, had come those of colonial relations, imperial taxation, colonial resistance to the processes of collecting new revenues, an application to America of real economic sanctions, and a flood of . . .

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