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Boston North End dig hits archeological pay dirt

Digging and more digging had turned the cramped backyard of a centuries-old North End home into a hole-pocked jumble of back-filled earth that most tourists passed without a glance on their way to Old North Church.

But this blemish behind the 18th-century Clough House proved to be a blessing for archeologists, who say their dirty work this spring unearthed a rarely found time capsule from the neighborhood’s early days.

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May 19, 1780 – New England’s Dark Day

The following day—May 20, 1780—the sun came out as usual and darkness faded when it was supposed to. Things were back to normal, but no one knew for sure what had caused the darkness. Some colonists correctly identified the source of the darkness: something burning.

One journalist pointed out that he and his neighbors detected a “strong, sooty smell” and suspected the source to be leaves or a chimney burning.6 Joseph Dow claimed that the air for several days before had been filled with smoke “arising it was supposed, from extensive fires, somewhere raging in the woods.”7

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Democracy's Perfect Moment

The "Flames of Sedition" had already spread throughout the countryside where 95% of Massachusetts residents lived after a series of episodes, including the Tea Party and Stamp Act had led to tension and rage. The port of Boston was still controlled by the Crown's military forces and many of the educated elite had assembled in Philadelphia to decide whether they should wrest control away from the Crown. But at meeting houses and taverns across the Bay Colony, the farmers and shopkeepers were preparing and reacting in a determined rage to the loss of representation and oversight they once had to assure fairness in the Courts.

Most farmers and craftsmen were concerned with local issues - the struggle of daily life trying to grow crops on rocky soils or tend to church or local Town Meeting duties. Yet the contrasts of wealth between the educated elite and yeoman farmers was growing significantly while the rise of the "strolling poor" and landless was starting to increase as generations split up original land holdings again and again. Debts for farmers were growing steadily and historians have found that up to 22% of the farmers were facing litigation for unpaid debt. Courts had tremendous power to seize a farmer's property, so this was a growing concern in the years leading up to the Revolution.

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History Of Cambridge from its Settlement in 1631 To 1776

In the year 1761, at the instance of several wealthy gentlemen, an Episcopal church was established in Cambridge, under the charge of the Rev. East Apthorp. He was received in no friendly spirit by the Congregational ministers, and in a few years sought a more agreeable field of labor in England. The breaking out of the war drove his successor, the Rev. Winwood Sergeant, and his congregation of wealthy loyalists, from the town, and the church was closed. In the agitations preceding the Revolution, Cambridge, in spite of these same numerous and influential loyalists, ardently espoused the popular cause. The people ." discovered a glorious spirit, like men determined to be free." In 1765, October 14th, they adopted patriotic resolutions against the Stamp Act. In 1770, they tolled their bells on the burial day of the Boston rioters killed by the troops. November 26, 1773, they passed energetic resolutions against the tax on tea, expressing their willingness to join with Boston and other towns, on the shortest notice, to deliver themselves and their posterity from slavery.

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Worcester in the War of the Revolution 1765-1783

The subject of slavery bad for a long term of years caused much uneasiness among the people. The hearts and minds of patriots and philanthropists had been quickened to a sense of the atrocious wickedness of man holding property in man, and the public conscience was gradually becoming susceptible to appeals for its abolition.

The traffic was never sanctioned in this Province, and under the Colonial and Provincial Charters the slave trade was deprecated as a disgrace to humanity. The holding of slaves was not general, being confined to the wealthier classes.

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The Massachusetts Ratification Convention

The Massachusetts Ratification Convention by Gordon Lloyd The Massachusetts Ratifying Convention met in Boston from January 9, 1788 to February 5, 1788 to discuss "the adoption of the federal Constitution." 370 delegates had been elected on October 25, 1787, and…

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