On June 9, 1772, a group of men took control of, and burned to the waterline, the armed schooner HMS Gaspee, a British customs vessel that had run aground off Namquid Point in Warwick. The Gaspee …
On June 9, 1772, a group of men took control of, and burned to the waterline, the armed schooner HMS Gaspee, a British customs vessel that had run aground off Namquid Point in Warwick. The Gaspee Affair is the most famous of a long line of violent protest acts against the Royal Navy vessels sent to Narragansett Bay to enforce payments of taxes on imports.
The Battle of Rhode Island Association and the Middletown Historical Society will host a lecture by Dr. Steven Park, the author of “The Burning of His Majesty’s Schooner Gaspee; An Attack on Crown Rule Before the American Revolution” on Tuesday, Sept. 27. The presentation, “250 years -- the changing landscape of Gaspee history,” will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. at Innovate Newport 513 Broadway in Newport.
The facts of the case are seemingly well-known. The Gaspee is chasing a Providence bound packet boat that had already cleared customs in Newport. The captain of the packet, Benjamin Lindsey, refuses to stop when hailed by the schooner and manages to skirt shoal water off Namquid Point. The bigger Gaspee runs hard aground. Lindsey continues to Providence and spreads word of the stranded schooner. Soon a group of patriots leave Providence in long boats, row to Warwick, and attack the Gaspee burning it to the waterline.
Dr. Park proceeds to take the audience through a fascinating look at evidence that may corroborate the popular account, or it may show that the incident occurred, not by happenstance, but rather as the result of an elaborate plot to stir support for the independence movement.
The lecture is open to the public at no charge; although, donations are most welcome. No reservations are required.
Dr. Steven Park received his PhD in history from the University of Connecticut where he taught United States and maritime history for 17 years before joining the Institute for Teaching and Learning as an education technologist. He currently serves as the Director of Academic and Scholarly Technology at Wheaton College and has written several articles that have appeared in numerous publications, including International Maritime History, American Neptune, Journal of the American Revolution and Connecticut History Review.
The Middletown Historical Society is an all-volunteer, non-profit educational organization, founded in 1976. Its mission is to preserve the history of the town, investigate all aspects of past records & new findings pertaining to the history, promote education and preserve historical landmarks while providing the ability for others to view.
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