The Early Modern Commons

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Your search for posts with tags containing government found 251 posts

Another Boston Town Meeting, “all in very good order”

On 15 May 1770, 250 years ago today, Bostonians convened in Faneuil Hall for another town meeting session. That gathering was meant to finish up some business from the week before, as discussed starting here, and the year before.The first order of business...
From: Boston 1775 on 15 May 2020

Studying the Schoolmasters’ Salaries

Toward the end of their 8 May 1770 town meeting, Bostonians turned to approving salaries for the town’s schoolteachers.There were five town schools—two grammar or Latin schools and three writing schools. However, not all the teachers were...
From: Boston 1775 on 10 May 2020

“Strict adherance to the design of the Townˇ

At 3:00 P.M. on 8 May 1770, after their midday dinners, the white, propertied men of Boston returned to Faneuil Hall to resume their town meeting.Having elected their representatives to the Massachusetts General Court, they named a committee to write...
From: Boston 1775 on 9 May 2020

After James Otis “behaved very madly’

On 8 May 1770, 250 years ago today, Bostonians gathered for one of their annual town meetings.Every March, the white men of the town elected its selectmen and other officials for the coming year. Every May, a smaller section of those white men, those...
From: Boston 1775 on 8 May 2020

“A certain Number to be employed in cleaning the Streets”

My curiosity about how colonial Boston periodically coerced free black men into mending town highways began years ago when I came across an item in the New-England Chronicle and Essex Gazette printed on 24 Aug 1775.[That issue covered 17-24 August...
From: Boston 1775 on 30 Apr 2020

“Which service has not as yet been fully comply’d with”

Yesterday I described how in 1707 Massachusetts and Boston instituted a legal system of drafting free black men to work a certain number of days each year on maintaining highways. The Boston selectmen’s records show that system being used often...
From: Boston 1775 on 29 Apr 2020

“Impowred to order and require so many days’ work yearly”

Yesterday I mentioned how colonial Boston selectmen’s records periodically include lists of the free black men in the town in connection with, of all things, highway repairs. Here’s more about that.Massachusetts militia laws excluded black...
From: Boston 1775 on 28 Apr 2020

Onesimus Mather in Freedom

It’s hard to find traces of the Rev. Dr. Cotton Mather’s enslaved servant Onesimus after the minister grudgingly manumitted him in late 1716 or early 1717.In some respects that’s good because it means the man didn’t have to return...
From: Boston 1775 on 27 Apr 2020

“The Town make choice of a proper Person to deliver an Oration”

Yesterday I described how Bostonians commemorated the first anniversary of the Boston Massacre in 1771, including Dr. Thomas Young delivering a political oration in the Manufactory.Six days later, on Monday, 11 March, Boston had its first town meeting...
From: Boston 1775 on 11 Apr 2020

“An Oration containing a brief Account of the Massacre”

On Tuesday, 5 Mar 1771, Bostonians commemorated the first anniversary of the Boston Massacre.I write “Bostonians” and not “Boston” because those commemorations weren’t official town acts. Rather, some of the more radical...
From: Boston 1775 on 10 Apr 2020

Liberal-Whig History

Robert W. Passfield What has been termed ‘Whig History’ is a Liberal historiography that views history teleologically in terms of the progress of humanity towards enlightenment, rationalism, scientism, secularism, and the freedom of the individual....
From: Borealia on 6 Apr 2020

“A number of Soldiers with their Baggage landed”

On Monday, 12 Mar 1770, Bostonians assembled for a town meeting to elect officers for the coming year and transact other business.In fact, there was so much other business that that meeting kept going by adjournment for over two weeks, with sessions starting:Monday,...
From: Boston 1775 on 31 Mar 2020

“The Committee reserve all the printed Copies”

On Monday, 26 Mar 1770, 250 years ago today, the inhabitants of Boston once again gathered in Faneuil Hall for a town meeting. Technically, this was a continuation of the meeting they had adjourned the week before.To discourage various sorts of bad behavior,...
From: Boston 1775 on 26 Mar 2020

The Town Meeting and the “Carrier of the Dispatches”

On Thursday, 22 Mar 1770, 250 years ago today, Boston began a new town meeting. It had been only three days since the end of the last meeting, which had spread over several days as inhabitants chose men for town offices and discussed how to respond to...
From: Boston 1775 on 22 Mar 2020

The Misdating of William Molineu

Among the many interesting documents on the Massachusetts Historical Society’s webpage about the Boston Massacre is a letter from William Molineux, the Boston activist, to Robert Treat Paine, a lawyer practicing in Taunton.It says:Boston March 9...
From: Boston 1775 on 20 Mar 2020

When Boston Approved the Short Narrative

On 19 Mar 1770, 250 years ago today, Bostonians gathered for another session of the town meeting they had begun a week before. Having finished electing men to the municipal offices, the people were now concentrating on how to respond to the Boston Massacre....
From: Boston 1775 on 19 Mar 2020

The Troops’ Schedule for “embarkation for the castle”

One of the great things about the Sestercentennial of the Boston Massacre earlier this month is that I got to hear questions and new perspectives I could investigate. In the coming days I’ll go back over some of those points, starting with the question...
From: Boston 1775 on 17 Mar 2020

The Boston Town Meeting Takes Action

On Tuesday, 13 Mar 1770, 250 years ago today, Boston took a couple of major steps in its official response to the Boston Massacre.The town had started its annual meeting the day before, reelecting the seven selectmen and then moving on to overseers of...
From: Boston 1775 on 13 Mar 2020

Jonas Obscow, Natick Indian and Continental Soldier

Jonas Obscow (also spelled Obsco and Obscho) was born in Natick on 5 June 1739. The town’s vital records don’t identify his parents, but a man of the same name—presumably this baby’s father—died in 1745. His probate file,...
From: Boston 1775 on 12 Mar 2020

David Lamson, a Middle-Aged Man of Menotomy

David Lamson was among the men from Cambridge who served in the French and Indian War, according to provincial muster rolls examined by local historian Lucius R. Paige. Lamson himself had some Native ancestry and probably some African since he was later...
From: Boston 1775 on 11 Mar 2020

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Caveats and Work in Progress

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The search is at present quite basic and limited. I plan to add a number of more sophisticated features in the future including the ability to filter by blog tags and by dates. I may also introduce RSS feeds for search queries at some point.

Constructing Search Query URLs

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This is the basic structure:

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The URL for a search for the exact category Gunpowder Plot:

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I'll do my best to ensure that the basic URL construction (searchcat?s=...) is stable and persistent as long as the site is around.