The Sons of Liberty, 1765-1776
In the summer of 1765, Boston Gazette printer Benjamin Edes and eight merchant friends, who called themselves the Loyal Nine, met in Boston. They regarded the Stamp Act (see Chapter 16), which was to go into effect in America on November 1, 1765, as a direct threat to their livelihoods as well as those of many others. The printer knew his weekly newspaper afforded the group the perfect mouthpiece to criticize the British tax which would require all paper used in the colones to be affixed with a stamp purchased from a British agent or stamp man. Edes and fellow printer John Gill filled the Boston Gazette with attacks against the tax and England.
The Loyal Nine were not finished, however. They organized a series of protests in Boston, including the hanging in effigy of Boston's stamp man, Andrew Oliver. Before August ended, riots broke out in Boston as citizens rallied against the new British tax. Oliver subsequently resigned, and no one in Boston wanted to assume the job.
About the same time Edes and his associates were organizing in Boston, a similar group was doing the same in New York City. In fact, comparable bands sprang up throughout America. While they sometimes used various names for themselves, these groups quickly became known collectively to all as the Sons of Liberty, and they led America's united effort against the Stamp Act.
The Sons of Liberty soon opened their secret meetings to any who wanted to attend. They met in public places, such as the liberty poles or