On Jon’s Desk: Annals of the American Revolution, celebrating Patriots’ Day

Title page of the Annals of the American Revolution.“Immediately upon the arrival of the tea-ships in the harbor of Boston, the first step taken was to request the consignees to refuse the commission. The inhabitants warmly remonstrated against the teas being landed in any of their ports, and urged the return of the ships without permitting them to break bulk. Resolved not to yield to the smallest vestige of parliamentary taxation, however disguised, a numerous assembly of the most respectable people of Boston and its neighborhood, repaired to the public hall, and drew up a remonstrance to the governor, urging the necessity of his order, to send back the ships without suffering any part of their cargoes to be landed. His answer confirmed the opinion, that he was the instigator of the measure.

Within an hour after this was known abroad, there appeared a great number of persons, clad like the aborigines of the wilderness, with tomahawks in their hands and clubs on their shoulders, who, without the least molestation, marched through the streets with silent solemnity, and amidst innumerable spectators, proceeded to the wharves, boarded the ships, demanded the keys, and without much deliberation knocked open the chests, and emptied several thousand weight of the finest teas into the ocean. No opposition was made, though surrounded by the king’s ships; all was silence and dismay.”

– Jedidiah Morse, Annals of the American Revolution, pages 176 & 177

Illustration (frontis piece engraving) of the Annals of the American Revolution, showing a depiction of the Boston Tea Party.

Title: Annals of the American Revolution; or a Record of the Causes and Events which Produced, and Terminated in the Establishment and Independence of the American Republic

Author: Jedidiah Morse, D.D.

Printed: Hartford, CT: 1824

First Edition, Call Number: E208 M88

Fold out plate (engraving) of the Battle of Saratoga from the Annals of the American Revolution.

Happy Patriots’ Day! Unless you are from the New England area, you may not know what Patriots’ Day is. It is the commemoration of the first battles of the American Revolution (Lexington and Concord) and is observed on the third Monday of April in some states (Maine and Massachusetts, for example). Each year the Boston Marathon is run on Patriots’ Day, linking the Athenian and American struggles for liberty (the twenty-six mile race being so named after the Greek Battle of Marathon). For those of us who want a link to the past that does not involve the pain of running twenty-six miles, a book about the American Revolution provides just such an opportunity. So while some people may show their Patriot-ism in Boston via running shoes, let’s take a look at Jedidiah Morse’s Annals of the American Revolution.

Preface to the Annals of the American Revolution.

Morse’s Annals of the American Revolution is a compilation of accounts relating events leading up to and through the Revolutionary War. The book also includes an index with descriptions of the notable military leaders of the time. The accounts begin with the establishment of the British colonies in North America in the 16th century and end with General George Washington’s resignation of his commission as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in front of Congress on December 23rd, 1783.

Jedidiah Morse was a geographer and pastor. Born August 23, 1761 in Woodstock, Connecticut, Morse attended the Academy of Woodstock and then Yale University (M.A., 1786), and later graduated with a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Edinburgh (D.D., 1795). His writing career began after starting and teaching at a school for young women. He saw the need for a geography text book and wrote Geography Made Easy (1784), followed by American Geography (1789). Morse was a pastor in the Calvinist Congregational Church, but remained active in education and geography throughout his life (died June 9, 1826, age 64, New Haven, Connecticut). He published sixty-three works during his career, most of them religious.

~Contributed by Jon Bingham, Rare Books Curator

View the original article on the OpenBook Blog

No Comments

Post A Comment