City, capital of the State of Massachusetts
, commercial metropolis of New England
, and fifth city in the United States
in population under the census of 1900; area, about 40 square miles; municipal income in 1899-1900, $30,969,813; net expenditure, $29,777,897; value of imports of merchandise in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1900, $72,195,939; value of similar exports, $112,195,555; total assessed valuation of taxable property in 1900, $1,129,130.762; tax rate, $14.70 per $1,000; population, 1890, 448,477; 1900, 560,892.
On a peninsula on the south side of the mouth of the Charles River
(which the natives called Shawmut
, but which the English
named Tri-mountain, because of its three hills) lived William Blackstone
(q. v.), who went there from Plymouth
He went over to Charlestown
to pay his respects to Governor Winthrop
, and informed him that upon Shawmut
was a spring of excellent water.
He invited Winthrop
to come over.
The governor, with others, crossed the river, and finding the situation there
delightful, began a settlement by the erection of a few small cottages.
At a court held at Charlestown
in September. 1630, it was ordered that Tri-mountain should be called Boston
This name was given in honor of Rev. John Cotton
vicar of St. Botolph's Church at Boston
, in Lincolnshire
, from which place many of the settlers came.
The governor, with most of his assistants, remove(d their families to Boston
, and it soon became the capital of New England
In August. 1632, the inhabitants of Charlestown
began the erection of a church edifice at the latter place.
There were then 151 church-members at the two settlements.
They amicably divided, the church in Boston
retaining Mr. Wilson
as its pastor, and that in Charlestown
invited Rev. Thomas James
to its pulpit.
The Boston church edifice had mud walls and a thatched roof, and stood on the south side of State Street, near where the old State-house afterwards stood.
, who had been a teacher only, was ordained pastor of the first church in Boston
, Nov. 22, 1632.
The civil war in England
extended across the sea. The vessels of London
, the seat of Parliamentary power, furnished with privateering commissions, took every opportunity that offered to attack those of Bristol
, and other western ports, that adhered to the King
In July, 1644, a London vessel brought a West-of-England prize into Boston Harbor
The captain exhibited a commission from Warwick
, High Admiral
of New England
, and they were allowed to retain their prize; but when another London
vessel attacked a Dartmouth ship (September), as she entered Boston Harbor
with a cargo( of salt, the magistrates sent an armed force to prevent the capture.
Because o(f a defect in the commission of the privateer, the prize was appropriated as a compensation for a Boston ship which had been captured on the high seas by a royalist vessel.
Some persons in Boston
declared themselves in favor of the King
, when (March, 1645) such turbulent practices were strictly forbidden.
A law was soon passed assuring protection to all ships that came as friends; and officers were appointed to keep the peace, and to prevent fighting in Boston Harbor
, except “by authority.”
Before the news of the revolution in England
which placed William and Mary on the throne had arrived at Boston
, a daring one was effected in New England
The colonists had borne the tyranny of Andros
about three years. Their patience was now exhausted.
A rumor was started that the governor's guards were about to massacre some of the leading people of Boston
The people flew to arms, and on April 18, 1688, when the rumor had gone out of the town, the people flocked in with guns and other weapons to the assistance of their brethren.
They did not wait for the governor's troops to move, but instantly seized Andros
, such of his council as had been most active in oppressing them, with, other prisoners to the number of about fifty, confined them, and reinstated the old magistrates.
The rumor of the massacre found readier belief because of a military order which was given out on the reception of the declaration of the Prince
The order charged all officers and people to be in readiness to hinder the landing of the troops which the prince might send to New England
The people first imprisoned Captain George
, of the Rose
frigate, and some hours afterwards Sir Edmund Andros
(q. v.) Was taken at the fort on Fort Hill
, around which 1,500 people had assembled.
The people took the castle on Castle Island
the next day. The sails of the frigate were brought on shore.
A council of safety was chosen, with Simon Bradstreet
as president, and on May 2 the council recommended that an assembly composed of delegations from the several towns in the colony should meet on the 9th of the same month.
Sixty-six persons met, and having confirmed the new government, another convention of representatives was called to meet in Boston
on the 22d.
On that day fifty-four towns were represented, when it was determined “to resume the government according to charter rights.”
The governor (Bradstreet
) and magistrates chosen in 1686 resumed the government (May 24, 1688) under the old charter, and on the 29th King William and Queen Mary were proclaimed in Boston
with great ceremony.
In 1697 rumors spread over New England
that a French armament from Europe
and a land force from Canada
were about to fall upon the English
Such an expedition had actually been ordered from France
; and it was placed under the command of the Marquis
of Nesmond, an officer of great reputation.
He was furnished with ten men-of-war, a galiot, and two frigates; and was instructed to first secure the possessions in the extreme east, then to join 1,500 men to be furnished by Count Frontenac
, and proceed with his fleet to Boston Harbor
After capturing Boston
and ravaging New England
, he was to proceed to New York, reduce the city, and thence send back the troops to Canada
by land, that they might ravage the New York colony.
Nesmond started so late that he did not reach Newfoundland
until July 24, when a council of war decided not to proceed to Boston
All New England
was alarmed, and preparations were made on the seaboard to defend the country.
the Peace of Ryswick
was proclaimed at Boston
Dec. 10, and the English
colonies had repose from war for a while.
Nearly a tenth part of Boston
was consumed by fire on March 20, 1760, in about four hours. It began, by accident, at Cornhill
There were consumed 174 dwelling-houses, 175 warehouses and other buildings, with merchandise, furniture, and various articles, to the value of $355,000; and 220 families were compelled to look to their neighbors for shelter.
The donations from every quarter for the relief of the sufferers amounted to about $87,000.
As soon as intelligence of the introduction of the Stamp Act into Parliament reached Boston
a town-meeting was called (May, 1764), and the representatives of that municipality were instructed to stand by the chartered rights of the colonists: to oppose every encroachment upon them; to oppose all taxation then in contemplation; and concluded by saying, “As his Majesty's other Northern American colonies are embarked with us in this most important bottom, we further desire you to use your best endeavors that their weight may be added to that of this province, and that, by the united applications of all who are aggrieved, all may happily obtain redress.”
Symptoms of violent ferment in the public mind appeared in several places before the arrival of the stamps in America
was a great elm, under which the “Sons of liberty” held meetings, and it was known as “Liberty tree.”
On its branches the effigies of leaders among the supporters of the British
ministers were hung.
The house of Secretary Oliver
, who had been appointed stamp-distributor, was attacked by a mob (Aug. 15, 1765), who broke his windows and furniture, pulled down a small building which they supposed he was about to use as a stamp-office, and frightened him into speedy resignation.
At that time Jonathan Mayhew
, an eloquent and patriotic preacher in Boston
, declared against the Stamp Act from the pulpit, from the text, “I would they were even cut off which trouble you.”
The riots were renewed on Monday evening after this sermon was preached.
The luse of Story, registrar of the admiralty, was attacked (Aug. 26) and the public records and his private private papers were destroyed; the house of the comptroller of customs was plundered; and the rioters, maddened by spirituous liquors, prcceeded to the mansion of Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson
, on North Square, carried everything out of it, and burned the contents in the public square.
Among his furniture and papers perished manly valuable manuscripts relating to the history of Massachusetts
, which he had been thirty years collecting, and which could not be replaced.
The better part of the community expressed their abhorrence of the acts, yet the rioters went unpunished, an indication that they had powerful sympathizers.
Indemnification for losses by the officers of the crown was demanded by the British
government and agreed to by Massachusetts
received $12,000; Oliver
, $645; Story, $255; Hallowell
The commissioners of customs arrived in Boston
in May, 1768, and began their duties with diligence.
The sloop Liberty
, belonging to John Hancock, arrived in Boston Harbor
June 10, with a cargo of wine from Madeira
It had been determined by leading merchants and citizens
to resist these custom-house officers as illegal tax-gatherers, and when the tide-waiter, as usual, went on board the Liberty
, on her arrival, just at sunset, to await the landing of dutiable goods on the dock, he was politely received and invited into the cabin to drink punch.
At about 9 P. M. he was confined below.
while the wine was landed without entering it at the custom-house or observing any other formula.
Then the tide-waiter was sent on shore.
In the morning the commissioners of customs ordered the seizure of the sloop, and Harrison
, the collector, and Hallowell
, the comptroller, were directed to perform the duty.
The vessel was duly marked, cut from her moorings, and placed under the guns of the Romney
, a British ship-of-war, in the harbor.
The people were greatly excited by this act, and the assembled citizens soon became a mob. A large party of the lower class, headed by Malcolm
, a bold smuggler, pelted Harrison
with stones, attacked the office of the commissioners, and, dragging a custom-house boat through the streets.
burned it upon the Common.
The frightened commissioners tied for safety on board the Romncy
, and thence to Castle William, in the harbor.
The Sons of Liberty, at a meeting at Faneuil Hall (June 13), prepared a petition, asking the governor to remove the war-ship from the harbor.
The Council condemned the mob, but the Assembly took no notice of the matter.
The British troops in Boston
were a continual source of irritation.
Daily occurrences exasperated the people against the soldiers.
The words “tyrant” and “rebel” frequently passed between them.
Finally an occurrence apparently trifling in itself led to riot and bloodshed in the streets of Boston
A rope-maker quarrelled with a soldier and struck him. (Out of this grew a tight between several soldiers and rope-makers, when the latter were beaten; and the event aroused the more excitable portion of the citizens.
A few evenings afterwards March 5, 1770) about 700 of them assembled in the streets for the avowed purpose of attacking the troops.
Near the custom-house a sentinel was assaulted with missiles, when Captain Preston
, commander of the guard, went to his rescue with eight men. The mob attacked these soldiers with stones, pieces of ice, and other missiles.
daring them to tire.
One of the soldiers who received a blow fired, and his companions, mistaking an order, fired also.
Three of the populace were killed and five were dangerously wounded.
The leader of the mob (who was killed ) was a powerful mulatto or Indian named Crispus Attucks
The mob instantly retreated, when all the bells of the city rang out an alarm, and in less than an hour several thousands of exasperated citizens were in the streets.
A terrible scene of bloodshed might have ensued had not Governor Hutchinson
assured the people that justice should be vindicated in the morning.
They retired, but were firmly resolved not to endure military despotism any longer.
The governor was called upon at an early hour to fulfil his promise.
The people demanded the instant removal of the troops from Boston
and the trial of Captain Preston
and his men for murder.
Their demands were complied with.
The troops were removed to Castle William (March 12), and Preston
, ably defended by John Adams
and Josiah Quincy
, two of the popular leaders in Boston
, was tried and acquitted, with six of his men, by a Boston jury.
This loyalty to justice and truth, in the midst of unreasoning public excitement, gave the friends of the Americans
a powerful argument in favor of being just towards the colonists.
The Boston tea party is a popular name given to an occurrence in Boston Harbor
in December, 1773.
To compel Great Britain
to he just towards her American colonies, in the matter of enforced taxation in the form of duties upon articles into the colonies, imposed by English navigation laws, the merchants of the latter entered into agreements not to import anything from Great Britain
while such oppressive laws existed.
The consequence was British manufacturers and shipping merchants felt the loss of the American
The Parliament bad declared their right
to tax the colonists without their consent; the latter took the position that “taxation without representation is tyranny,” and resisted.
The quarrel had grown botter and hotter.
Some of the duties were removed under pressure: but several articles,
among them tea, were still burdened by duties in 1773.
The English East India Company felt the loss of their American customers for tea, of which they had the monopoly, most severely, and offered to pay the government, as an export duty, more than the threepence a pound exacted in America
, if they might deliver it there free of duty.
The government considered itself in honor bound to enforce
its laws, just or unjust, instead of conciliating the Americans
It allowed the East India Company to take their tea to America
on their own account free of export duty.
As this arrangement would enable the Americans
to procure their tea as cheaply as if it were duty free, the ministry supposed they would submit.
But there was a principle
which the colonists would not yield.
However small the tax, if levied without their consent
, they regarded it as oppressive
. They refused to allow any cargo of tea even to be landed in some of their ports.
Vessels were sent immediately back with their cargoes untouched.
Two ships laden with tea were moored at a wharf in Boston
, and the royal governor and his friends attempted to have their cargoes landed in defiance of the popular will.
An immense indignation meeting of the citizens was held in the Old South Meeting-house
, and, at twilight, on a cold moonlit evening, on Dec. 16, 1773, about sixty men, disguised as Indians
, rushed, by preconcert, to the wharf, boarded the vessels, tore open the hatches, and cast 340 chests of tea into the waters of the harbor.
See Hutchinson, Thomas.
When intelligence reached London
of the destruction of tea in Boston Harbor
there was almost universal indignation, and the friends of the Americans
Ministerial anger rose to a high pitch, and Lord North introduced into Parliament (March 14, 1774) a bill providing for the shutting — up of the port of Boston
and removing the seat of government to Salem
The measure was popular.
gave it their approval, and the Bostonians removed their portraits from Faneuil Hall.
Violent language was used in Parliament against the people of Boston
“They ought to have their town knocked about their ears and destroyed.”
said a member, and concluded his tirade of abuse by quoting the factious cry of the Romans, “Delenda est Carthago.
denounced the bill as unjust, as it would punish the innocent for the sins
of the guilty.
The bill was passed by an almost unanimous vote, and became a law March 31, 1774.
believed that the torture which the closing of the port would inflict upon the inhabitants of that town would make them speedily cry for mercy and procure unconditional
View of the lines on Boston Neck.
Not so. When the act was received at Boston
, its committee of correspondence invited eight of the neighboring towns to a conference “on the critical state of public affairs.”
At three o'clock on the afternoon of May 12, 1774, the committees of Dorchester
, and Lexington
joined them in Faneuil Hall.
was chosen chairman.
They denounced the Boston Port
act as cruel and unjust, by accusing, trying, and condemning the town of Boston
without a hearing, contrary to natural right as well as the laws of civilized nations.
The delegates from the eight towns were told that if Boston
should pay for the tea the port would not be closed; but their neithbors held such a measure to be uncalled for under the circumstances, and the humiliating offer not worthy to be thought of. They nobly promised to join “their suffering brethren in every measure of relief.”
Alarmed by warlike preparations everywhere in 1774, General Gage
began to fortify Boston Neck, for the purpose of defence only, as he declared.
The Neck was a narrow isthmus that connected the peninsula of Shawmut
, on which Boston
stood, with the mainland at Roxbury
He also removed the seat of government from Salem
back to Boston
The work of fortifying went slowly on, for British gold could not buy the labor of Boston
carpenters, though suffering from the dreadful depression, and workmen had to be procured elsewhere.
Workmen and timber shipped at New York for Boston
for carrying on the fortifications were detained by the “Sons of liberty” in the latter city.
Finally the fortifications were completed, and became the source of great irritation among the people.
They stretched entirely across the isthmus, and intercourse between the town and country was narrowed to a passage guarded by a military sentinel.
The fortifications consisted of a line of works of timber and earth, with port-holes for cannon, a strongly built sally-port in the centre, and pickets extending into the water at each end.
With the efficient aid of General Gates
of the Continental
determined to prepare for a regular siege of Boston
, and to confine the British
troops to that peninsula or drive them out to sea. The siege continued from June, 1775, until March, 1776.
Fortifications were built, a thorough organization of the army was effected, and all that industry and skill could do, with the materials in hand, to strike an effectual blow was done.
All through the remainder of the summer and the autumn of 1775 these preparations went on, and late in the year the American
army around Boston
, 14,000 strong, extended from Roxbury
, on the right, to Prospect Hill
2 miles northwest of Breed's Hill
, on the left.
The right was commanded by Gen. Artemas Ward
, and the left by Gen. Charles Lee
The centre, at Cambridge
, was under the immediate command of Washington
The enlistments of many of the troops would expire with the year.
Many refused to re-enlist.
troops demanded a bounty; and when it was refused, because the Congress
had not authorized it, they resolved to leave camp in a body.
Many did go, and never came back.
But at that dark hour new and patriotic efforts were made to keep up the army, and at the close of the year nearly all the regiments were full, and 10,000 minute-men in New England
stood ready to swell the ranks.
On Jan. 1, 1776, the new army was organized, and consisted of about 10,000 men. The British troops in Boston
numbered about 8,000, exclusive of marines on the ships-of-war.
They were well
supplied with provisions, and, having been promised ample reinforcements in the spring, they were prepared to sit quietly in Boston
and wait for them.
They converted the Old South Meeting-house
into a riding-school, and Faneuil Hall into a theatre, while Washington
, yet wanting ammunition to begin a vigorous attack, was chafing with impatience to “break up the nest.”
He waited for the ice in the rivers to become strong enough to allow his troops and artillery to cross over on it and assail the enemy; but the winter was mild, and no opportunity of that kind offered until February, when a council of officers decided that the undertaking would be too hazardous.
Finally Colonel Knox
, who had been sent to Ticonderoga
to bring away cannon and mortars from that lace, returned with more than fifty great guns.
Powder began to increase.
Ten militia regiments came in to increase the strength of the besiegers.
Heavy cannon were placed in battery before Boston
Secretly Dorchester Heights was occupied by the Americans
, and fortified in a single night.
saw. for the first time, that he was in real danger, for the cannon at Dorchester
commanded the town.
First he tried to dislodge the provincials.
A council of war determined that the only method of securing safety for the British army was to fly to the ocean.
He offered to evacuate the town and harbor if Washington
would allow him to do so quietly.
The boon was granted, and on Sunday, March 17, 1776, the British fleet and army, accompanied by more than 1,000 loyalists, who dared not brave the anger of the patriots, whom they had oppressed, left the city and harbor, never to return in force.
the event gave great joy to the American
people, and the Continental Congress caused a medal of gold to be struck, with appropriate devices, and presented to Washington
, with the thanks of the nation.
When the British
rearguard left Boston
, the vanguard of the American
army marched in, and were received by the inhabitants with demonstrations of great joy. They had endured dreadful sufferings for more than sixteen months--hunger, thirst, cold, privations of every kind, and the outrages and insults of insolent soldiers, who treated them as rebels, without rights which the British
were bound to respect.
The most necessary articles of food had risen to enormous prices, and horse-flesh was welcomed, when it could be procured, as a savory dish.
For a supply of fuel, the pews and benches of churches and the partitions and counters of warehouses were used, and even some of the meaner uninhabited
dwellings were demolished for the same purpose.
In 1822 Boston
was first incorporated a city, and John Phillips
was elected the first mayor.
It then contained about 50,000 inhabitants.
The 1st of May was appointed by the charter the beginning of its municipal year, and the ceremonies of inducting the mayor and other officers into their official places were attended at Faneuil Hall.
After an introductory prayer by Rev. Dr. Baldwin
, senior minister
of the city, Chief-Justice Parker
administered the oaths of allegiance and office to the mayor-elect, who ad ministered similar oaths to other officers.
The chairman of the selectmen then arose, and, after an address to the mayor, delivered to him the city charter, contained in a superb silver case, with the ancient act incorporating the town nearly 200 years before.
Since becoming a city Boston
has had but one serious interruption in its prosperous advance.
On the evening of Nov. 9, 1872, a fire broke out which swept over 65 acres of ground, in which the principal wholesale warehouses were located, and created a loss of over $75,000,000. In less than three years afterwards the whole of this district was rebuilt in a substantial manner.
the principal thoroughfares being enlarged and otherwise improved.
Among the notable works of municipal improvements in recent years, the most important are the recovery and building up of the “back bay” district; the annexation of numerous suburban towns; the completion of a new system of water-works; the extension of its magnificent public-park system; and the construction of the “subway,” or underground railway.