On June 9, 1772 the HMS Gaspee was burned to the ground after being lured into shallow water where she was grounded and then attacked by Rhode Islanders. At this time the anti-smuggling laws of England were seen by many New Englanders as being unjust and Rhode Islanders led by Abraham Whipple and John Brown burned the Gaspee and looted the ship.
One of Brown’s ships would later be captained by John Paul Jones as a privateer. After the war Brown would be one of the first people to be charged under the federal anti-slavery importation acts.
Abraham Whipple was a successful captain and squadron commander in the Revolutionary War until taken prisoner in 1780. He remained a farmer for the rest of his life, eventually moving west–first to Vermont and then to Ohio.
This is a very cool project, especially if you are a history buff like me. Rory Raven has written some of the best books on RI history that I’ve ever read (and I’ve read quite a few), so he needs some help to fund the cost of historical pictures for his new book about the burning of the Gaspee, which started the Revolutionary War (more than a year before the Boston Tea Party).
There are some very awesome prizes, but even a dollar or two will help out! Please help if you can, or if not just please re-blog this and spread the word!
Today my neighborhood celebrates The Burning Of The Gaspee. The Gaspee was a British ship named by combining the words gas and pee without any humorous intentions. A bunch of colonial drunks burned the ship to the waterline and captured and shot its captain, revolting against British something something taxes. It is one of the events that lead to the American Revolution.
The Gaspee Days Committee, a group of local people I probably wouldn’t like who formed a committee because they couldn’t figure out how to run for a real office, used to refer to the burning of the H.M.S. Gaspee as The First Blow For Freedom until someone pointed out that the word blow makes people think of penises. See? You just thought of a big, juicy, rock-hard penis. Or you did now, anyway.
My father had a Gaspee Day Parade T-Shirt for roughly thirty years before his wife threw it out. It was basically see-through by that time, even when dry. He was mad when she did, even though it was on the verge of disintegration.
I don’t go to the parade anymore because fuck parades. If I want to watch people walk and sweat I’ll go to work.
When I did go to the parade, I ignored almost everyone in it except for the Governor, who I booed, and the Vietnam Vets, who I would stand and applaud for. Those guys deserve it.
The one parade I do like watching is the parade of losers walking down my street to go TO the parade.
Tonight there is a colonial encampment at the park down the street from my house. Tomorrow is the reenactment of the burning of the Gaspee. In the old days, they would push an old boat out into the water and light it on fire until the liberals put a stop to it. Now it’s all earth friendly and shitty. If I ever hit powerball, I’m going to hire a bunch of people to dress like British Soldiers and invade the encampment.