GaspeeVirtual Archives

From The Gentlemanís Magazine, London, August, 1772


On Tuesday, the 9th of June, in the night, a number of people unknown boarded his Majestyís armed schooner, the Gaspee, as she lay a-ground on a point of land called Nanquet, in Rhode island, who wounded Lieut. William Dudingston, the commander, and, by force, took him, with all his people, put them into boats, and landed them near Pawtuxet, and afterwards set fire to the schooner, and burnt her to ashes.  This schooner was stationed as a check to prevent smuggling, which the inhabitants of Rhode island think they have a right to carry on without interruption.

The Kingís ships are very vigilant on the American coasts. About the beginning of June, they spied a shallop belonging to Chester, laden with flour and lumber, and maltreated the master, who complained to the civil magistrate against the officer, and he was taken into custody of the sheriff, but rescued by the Captain of the Kingís ship, who took the writ from the sheriff, and carried the man off in triumph.

Webmaster addendum for above:  This brief article is noteworthy in the speed in which the news from America came to be published in Britain, a mere six weeks was relatively fast for the time.

The snippet of news that follows in the second paragraph may be referring to the case of one Davis Bevan, who was beat up and shackled by Lt. Dudingston and his crew back in 1769 when the Gaspee patrolled the Chesapeake and Delaware River, near Chester, PA.  A shallop is a shallow drafted coastal vessel for carrying cargo.  We know than Bevans subsequently sued Dudingston, and perhaps the Lieutenant was arrested by the sheriff. Such lawsuits kept the commanders of most of these Royal Navy vessels on their ship, afraid to go ashore themselves out of fear of arrest. See and for more details

From The Gentleman's Magazine, London, July 1773, p.357-358


    The correspondence between the Colonies, which gave Government so much offence some years ago is again renewed.  A letter has been read in the Assembly, at Boston, inclosing a resolution of the Assembly of Virginia, to maintain a correspondence with the Sister Colonies; which letter and resolution were almost unaminously approved. A Committee is appointed for that purpose, and instructions given to that Committee to inform themselves without delay, by what authority a Court of Inquiry was constituted at Rhode Island, said to be vested with powers to transport persons accused of offences committed in America, to places beyond the seas to be tried.
    These instructions have been circulated to the respective Assemblies upon the Continent, in confidence that they will readily unite in support of the Rights and Liberties of the American Colonies, at a time when those Rights and Liberties appear to be systematically invaded.
    In the meantime the Commissioners appointed by the King to enquire into the circumstances of attacking His Majesty's schooner Gaspee, at Rhode Island, have again engaged lodgings at Newport, having received fresh intructions from Government to proceed on that business.
    In a message that the house of Representatives of the Province of Massachusett's bay, in New-England, presented to the Governor, there is this remarkable paragraph. "When we consider, say they, the many attempts that have been made effectually to render null and void those Clauses in our Charter, upon which the freedom of our Constitution depends, we should be lost to all public feeling, should we not manifest a just resentment.  We are more and more convinced, that it has been the design of Administration totally to subvert the Constitution, and introduce an arbitrary government into this province; and we cannot wonder that the apprehensions of this people are thoroughly awakened." When this message was formed there were 91 members in the house, and it passed by a majority of 81.
    Some discoveries have lately been made of an extraordinary correspondence carried on by persons of high character, in the above province of Massachusetts Bay, the tendency of which, was, as the assembly have voted, "to subvert the Constitution, and to introduce Arbitrary Government in its stead."--While the letters relative to this affair were before the House, the Governor sent a message to the Assembly, in which he declared, "that he was not concious of having written any letters with such a tendency, and desiring a transcript of their proceedings relative thereto. To which the house replied, in substance, that he having denied the writing of any letters of such tendency, they desired him to lay before the house, copies of such letters as he did write, of the dates and to the person to whom the letters now before it were directed.--This affair has alarmed the whole province.
    The Committee appointed to consider the several letters laid before the House of Representatives, at Boston in N. England, among other spirited resolutions, came to the following:
    "Resolved, That this House is bound in duty to the King and their constituents, humbly to remonstrate to his Majesty the conduct of his Excellency Thomas Hutchinson, Esq; Governor, and the Hon. Andrew Oliver, Esq; Lieutenant Governor of this province, and to pray his Majesty would be pleased to remove them for ever from the Government thereof."
        The spirit of the people of N. England, may be known by the Resolution of the town-meeting of Gorham, on the Eastern frontiers of that province; who, among others, Resolved, That it is the opinion of this town, that it is better to risk our lives and fortunes, in the defence of our rights civil and religious, than to die by piece meal in slavery.

Webmaster's Note for above:
     This news article is of interest in that it presents a British view of the goings-on in America after the time of the Gaspee Affair, and relates this to the establishment of the permanent Committees of Correspondence. It also gives an accurate assessment of the resentment American colonists felt against British rule. If the London Press could see this, why couldn't the British Government?
    Thomas Hutchinson, the Crown-appointed Governor of Massachusetts at the time, was well-known to write in favor of rescinding the Charter of neighboring Rhode Island for having too many liberties. The town of Gorham referred to in the column now exists as Gorham, Maine.  Maine split from Massachusetts in 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise.

Gentleman's Magazine,
                    1773Commentary from Stephen A. Goldman Historical Newspapers which listed the August 1772 issue on eBay in April 2018: The Gentleman's Magazine was founded in London, England, by Edward Cave in January 1731. It ran uninterrupted for almost 200 years, until 1922. It was the first to use the term "magazine" (from the Arabic maḫāzin, meaning "storehouse") for a periodical. Samuel Johnson's first regular employment as a writer was with The Gentleman's Magazine.

The original complete title was The Gentleman's Magazine: or, Trader's monthly intelligencer. Cave's innovation was to create a monthly digest of news and commentary on any topic the educated public might be interested in, from commodity prices to Latin poetry. It carried original content from a stable of regular contributors, as well as extensive quotes and extracts from other periodicals and books. Cave, who edited The Gentleman's Magazine under the pen name "Sylvanus Urban", was the first to use the term "magazine" (meaning "storehouse") for a periodical. Contributions to the magazine frequently took the form of letters, addressed to "Mr. Urban". The iconic illustration of St John's Gate on the front of each issue (occasionally updated over the years) depicted Cave's home, in effect, the magazine's "office".

Before the founding of The Gentleman's Magazine, there were specialized journals, but no such wide-ranging publication (although there had been attempts, such as The Gentleman's Journal, which was edited by Peter Motteux and ran from 1692 to 1694).

This news magazine has approximately 60 pages and the page size is 8 1/4" x 5 1/4". The magazines were often issued with several blank back engraved illustrated plates relating to various subjects in that particular issue. The Gentleman's Magazine was in essence the "Time" or "Newsweek" news magazine of the 18th and 19th Centuries. It was also one of the first general-interest magazines, and one of the most influential periodical of its time.

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Originally Posted to Gaspee Virtual Archives 4/2002    Last Revised 04/2018    GenlemensMag.html