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[152] account, kept at the height of the great Revolution--

the estate of Thomas Oliver, late of Cambridge, Absentee, to the Committee of correspondence of the town, for the year 1776:

Dr.
For taking into possession and leasing out said estate£ 2
Also for supporting a negro man belonging to said estate£3.12
For collecting the personal estate£ 3
£ 8.12
Cr.By cash received as rent.£ 69

The circumstances which led Thomas Oliver to become an “absentee” must often have been told and retold to the boy Lowell by the evening fire. On September 2, 1774, there had been a great gathering in Cambridge from all parts of Middlesex County to protest against the assumption of power by which the Governing Council of the Colony should be appointed by the crown and not by the General Court or Legislature. Several thousand men were gathered round the court-house steps, and among them rose at last two of the newly appointed King's Councillors, Judge Danforth and Judge Lee, and announced amid applause

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