A True Republican: The Life of Paul Revere

By Jayne E. Triber | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
NO LAURELS ON HIS BROW

WHEN THE REVERES returned to their North Square home in the spring of 1776, they found a town and its people changed by the events of the past year. Their home, occupied by Paul Jr., and Revere's shop, which he had rented to Tory silversmith Isaac Clemens, were probably spared the damages experienced by so many of Boston's absent property owners, among them Doctor Samuel Cooper, who witnessed "Marks of Rapine and Plunder everywhere" and found his own "desolate empty House" so stripped of furniture and linens that he could not immediately move in. North Square no longer looked the same without the Old North Meeting House, pulled down by order of General Howe to provide firewood and room for the drilling of British troops. Liberty Tree, that powerful symbol of the patriot cause, had also ended up as firewood, and the Old West Church, where Dr. Mayhew had thundered his warning to unjust rulers so many years ago, had lost its steeple. Old South, scene of the Boston Tea Party meeting and Boston Massacre orations, had suffered the greatest indignities of all when the Light-Horse Seventeenth Regiment commandeered the church for use as a riding school. Timothy Newell, who had remained in Boston during the British occupation, described the damage inflicted by the soldiers: "The Pulpit, pews and seats, all cut to pieces and carried off in the most savage manner" except for Deacon Hubbard's "beautiful carved pew," which was "made a hog stye."1

The Reveres were back in North Square, but so many familiar faces were gone from Boston. Eleven hundred Tories had left with General Howe, among them Revere's customers Philip Dumaresq, Foster Hutchinson, Peter Johonnot, and William McAlpine. Dr. Warren was gone forever, and Dr. Young had removed to Philadelphia, where he, Thomas Paine, author of the pamphlet Common Sense,

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