Tag Archive | "Paul Revere"

Midnight Riders

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“Listen, my children, and you will hear

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.”

 

No doubt you have heard or read the opening lines of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem concerning one of our most colorful heroes of the Revolutionary War.  Equally high is the probability that you are not familiar with the entire story of Paul Revere, or that of his brave compatriots.   We are about to rectify this, in order to clarify the contributions of those who helped to forge the United States of America.

Born on December 22, 1734 in Boston, Massachusetts, our hero entered the world as the son of a French Huguenot immigrant, Apollo Rivoire, and a Bostonian mother, Deborah Hichborn.  Apollo, who became a journeyman silversmith, Anglicized the family name to “Revere” and passed his craft on to his sons.  Upon Apollo’s death, Deborah assumed management of the business and their sons, including Paul, performed the actual silver work.

Paul grew up to serve as a Second Lieutenant in an artillery regiment, seeing action in our dawning nation’s French and Indian Wars.   After separating from the army, Paul returned to his hometown, where he became a prominent and prosperous silversmith as well as a member of the secret society of Freemasons.  He settled in North Square, married Sarah Orne, and with her, had six children.

During this time, Paul became actively involved in a political group named The Sons of Liberty.  England, which viewed the budding America possessively as colonies under her rule, levied taxes while denying the colonists a voice in Parliament.  Some of those who disagreed with this “under my thumb” approach formed the Sons of Liberty.  If you can imagine a latter-day Greenpeace, you’ll have a notion as to how this organization got its point across.   They destroyed the symbols of the English gentry, spoke out vocally against the British Crown, and generally became a thorn in England’s side.  Dr. Joseph Warren was a member of this activist group, and became Paul’s friend.

In 1773, Paul’s wife Sarah died.  After remarrying Rachael Walker, Paul added five more children to his family and turned his lucrative silver business over to his son, Paul Jr., to concentrate on removing the British from American soil.  Although history cannot tell us for certain whether or not Paul was present that day, his contributions may have included helping to dump a lot of tea into the Boston Harbor to illustrate that “taxation without representation is tyranny.”

After this original Tea Party in 1773, Paul served as a messenger for the Boston Committee of Public Safety.  In this capacity, he ferried messages to supporters in New York and Philadelphia concerning the political unrest in Boston.

In 1774, the British had had enough of The Sons of Liberty and their brand of insurgence.   They closed the port of Boston and began to house great numbers of soldiers, nicknamed “The Regulars,” around the city.  In 1775, Dr. Warren dispatched Revere to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming to arrest them for their part in fomenting the colonies’ independence from England.   Arriving in Lexington at midnight, Revere helped our two forefathers to escape arrest.

Paul’s fellows then rowed him across the Charles River to the city of Charleston.  Here, Paul had already made a connection with the sympathetic deacon of Old North Church in Boston.  Upon word from Revere, the deacon was to hang one or two lanterns in the bell tower of the church to warn of the advancement of the British militia upon Lexington  (“One if by land and two if by sea”).  When Paul arrived with word, the deacon made good on his, thereby warning the surrounding countryside of the British invasion.

At this point, another rider, William (Billy) Dawes appeared on the scene.  Charged with the same mission as Paul, he came from a different route as a hedge against capture. Revere and Dawes then decided to ride together to Concord, Massachusetts, where ammunition and guns were stored, in order to spread the alarm further and enable the colonists to take up arms.  A third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott, assisted them.

Soon, the courageous trio was arrested by a British patrol.  Dawes and Prescott managed to escape, and after a brief interrogation that satisfied The Crown’s troops, Revere was released.  He returned to Lexington in time to witness the battle on the Lexington Green, in which the Sons of Liberty and their supporters repelled the British.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalized the silversmith-turned-activist in his famous poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”  Longfellow, however, failed to mention Billy Dawes or Dr. Prescott.  Other poems have been written to honor these men.   One of them is: 

Paul Revere’s and Billy Dawes’ Ride

By Marc Stockwell-Moniz

 

Let me tell you about the night in ’75 —

It’s all about Paul Revere’s and Billy Dawes rides.

Off they went with two strong steeds

The Regulars are out, so patriots take heed.

With swift strong steps and scarlet coats

They crossed the Charles, went Paul in his boat.

One by land and two by sea,

His majesty’s boys in Lexington by three.

And off went Billy through the Back Bay,

The lesser known of the two heroes today.

The Charlestown road Paul did take

Through Medford and Metotomy for Adam’s sake.

Dawes arrived first to warn the town:

“The Regulars are coming, they are bound!”

Along the road, Paul met some foes,

Got captured awhile, then laid low.

But the hero broke free and off he fled.

“I must make it to Hancock”, is what he said.

So early in the morning, Paul arrived

To tell Adam’s and Hancock they must hide.

Then the patriot men gathered on the green

Standing tall to greet the British scene.

So off rode the duo in the middle of the night

To help launch a nation’s maiden flight.

So forever and ever, they’ll ride again

The all-night ride of America’s men.

Wake Up, America!

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Wake Up

Paul Revere was a Boston silversmith as well as a patriot, whose efforts galvanized and protected our nation in its nascent stages against what, in this age, could be deemed a hostile takeover.  During the American Revolution, Revere helped to organize an intelligence/human alarm system that, literally, kept its eye on invading British troops bent upon ripping our independence from us in the very moment that we’d found it!   The silversmith and his compadres, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, rallied together to warn our citizenry of the impending invasion, thus striking a proactive blow against the British and facilitating our true independence.

 

Today, America is desperately in need of men like Revere, Dawes, and Prescott, who courageously rode through the night, admonishing citizens to take up arms against the impending assault.  In fact, we needed these brave people well before the revelations of September 2008 struck, ushering in a nosedive in the stock market and a resultant economy so dismal it teetered on the brink of another Great Depression.  Once again, we find ourselves at the hands of Powers That Be seeking to break the finances and ultimately, the backbone of our nation.  Once again, we seesaw on the brink of monumental change controlled by a government with which many of us do not agree.

 

Our Founding Fathers scripted a Constitution to prevent this from happening.  But the words in that esteemed document are, alas, but rhetoric without a citizenry possessing the backbone needed to enforce rather than amend it.

 

In a free enterprise system, the role of government is not to bail out businesses with taxpayers’ money, thus risking our financial future.  Government’s only duty to its citizens is to protect and serve them from enemies both at home and abroad.  The “at home” category encompasses the weasels who bilked $700 billion out of taxpayer funds and then continued to milk us dry with each successive tanking of their respective industries.   The Great Depression, which lasted a decade, prompted government to install safety measures in order to protect its citizens from unscrupulous institutions in the banking industry and Wall Street.  Committees were formed to oversee these industries so as to avoid repeats of another economic downfall.  Some fail-safe, huh?

 

Who in government hollered “Hold it!” before bailing out the banks, other mortgage lenders, and certain car manufacturers by doling out our hard-earned money?  Did anyone suggest or push for a full Congressional investigation of the events precipitating the bailout and the subsequent, inevitable fallout?  A thorough investigation may have saved innocent and disenfranchised taxypayers, as opposed to big business.  Such an investigation may have prompted a reinstitution of the bankuptcy laws that the Bush administration buried like toxic waste in an effort to toss a lifeline to the big, rich boys, or of laws defining usury and business ethics with banks - including bailout recipients - charging as much as an unconscionable 30% interest to their credit cardholders and unscrupulous mortgage lenders feathering their own nests.

 

If we have the guts to rally such an investigation, we should start with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Committee).  This governmental watchdog agency did not do the job with which they were entrusted.  If fraudulent business practices were found by the SEC (and those huge bailouts pointed plainly to unchecked greed and fraud), the criminals should have been prosecuted, not helped along with blood money (i.e., our own blood, sweat, and tears).  If indeed America had been, as per all indicators, hijacked by underhanded robber barons, which of these thieves gambled that Washington would pay off their debts in a crisis situation?  What are the odds that the $700 billion lifeline resulted from honest mistakes?  I don’t know, but I would not want to lay odds on that particular scenario, for fear of losing my shirt.

 

Today, through government intervention, the automobile industry is in a shambles.  Once employing many thousands of workers, this was the last, U.S.-based bastion of a once mighty and diversified national manufacturing arena.  Now that, too, has gone belly-up, taking with it thousands of dealerships that have been badly impacted, if not totally scuttled.  The next industry on the chopping block is the healthcare industry, and who knows what is next?

 

Before the next axe falls, we need a Paul Revere clone, or at least someone of his courage and integrity, to sound the alarm in time for us to take a stab at fending it off.  Barring the emergence of such a deus ex machina, we, the citizens, must demand tranaparency and accountability in government.  These prevailing attributes will serve to enact the tenets underpinning our Constitution and truly serve as safeguards to our citizens. 

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