GaspeeVirtual Archives
A Report from London and Edinburgh

The first article is taken from the Virginia Gazette, October 15, 1772 on-line at: This article was apparently published in a London newspaper on July 18, 1772, less than five weeks after the attack on the Gaspee on June 10,1772.  It gives testimony that at least some ship crossings of the Atlantic could take place in very short time. On the other hand, the article took three months to find its way back into the American press.

The second article is from the Edinburgh Evening Courant of 1773
London, July 18

From Rhode Island we received advice that one of his Majesty's ships of war, interrupting the trade of some smugglers in that neighbourhood, the people rose up, and thinking it patriotism to resist the laws of this country, burnt the ship's boats, and carried their commerce in triumph to their own habitations.

The conduct of Rhode Islanders, on the foregoing occasion, it is thought, will be productive of much disturbance in America.  If our government resents it with the spirit they ought we shall have fresh exclamations from the sons of liberty beyond the Atlantic; and if they do not, the colonies are immediately discharged from their dependence upon England.  The Mother country and the colonies are now come to a kind of crisis, and one or the other must necessarily give way in the dispute.  Should the former, however, relax from her just authority, she may as well resign all her dependent territories, and content herself with what is merely contained in her own island.

Rhode Island is one of the four provinces that go under the general name of New England, and of which Massachusetts Bay is the principal.  The New Englanders are universally hated in America; and notwithstanding Boston asserts to be the capital of the colonies, the colonies would rather embrace the most certain destruction than acknowledge her for a mistress.

The councils held within these few days have been summoned in consequence of the disagreeable advice from America; for though fiat justitia ruat caelum* may be present at a court maxim, it is a court maxim which our Ministers find attended with insuperable difficulties.

The Earl of Hillsborough, when the advice relative to the Rhode Islanders came to court, exclaimed, "Well, what do they think of extending their colonization now, when it is evident that instead of having too few we have actually too many settlements in America!"

The circumstances which embarrasses government so much with America is the powerful interposition which the vast body of merchants trading to the colonies make in their favour. The influence of these Gentlemen is immense, and it is a melancholy truth that in all disagreements between the parent state and her children they are more affected by views of private interest than by the prosperity of their country.

The opposition is in great spirits from the present complexion of affairs, as their views are not to promote the public good, but, if possible, to snatch the loaves and fishes from their enemies the Ministry.
"fiat justitia ruat caelum" translates into "Let justice be done though the heavens should fall", or put another way,  "The law must take its course even if the powerful are brought low and the foundations of the state shaken".
THE EDINBURGH EVENING COURANT, Scotland, Feb. 22, 1773. Page 3
By letters from Boston we are told, that Admiral Montagu was preparing to sail with all his force to Rhode Island, to execute a conmission he had receiveded from hence for the punishment of the persons who burnt the Gaspee Schooner; but the Rhode Islanders were taking every measure to defeat the disigns of Government, and had actually passed an Act of Assembly, declaring the illegality of his Majesty's commission, and indemnity to such as opposed its execution.
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Posted to Gaspee Virtual Archives 1/2012      LondonReport.htm