1765 Riots in New York


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New York Riots of 1765.--Opposition to the Stamp Act assumed the form of riot in the city late in October, 1765. A general meeting of citizens was held on the evening of October 31, when 200 merchants signed their names to resolutions condemnatory of the act. A committee of correspondence was appointed, and measures were taken to compel James McEvers, who had been made stamp distributor for New York, to resign. Alarmed by the aspect of the public temper, he had placed the stamps he had received in the hands of acting Governor Colden, who resided within Fort George, protected by a strong garrison under General Gage. Colden had strengthened the fort and replenished the magazine. The people construed this act as a menace, and were highly exasperated. Armed ships were in the harbor, and troops were prepared to enslave them. But the people did not hesitate to assemble in great numbers before the fort (November 1) and demand the delivery of the stamps to their appointed leader. A refusal was answered by defiant shouts, and the populace assumed the character of a mob. They hung Governor Colden in effigy in " the Fields ", marched back to the fort, dragged his fine coach to the open space in front of it, tore down the wooden fence around Bowling Green, and, after making a pile of the wood, cast the coach and effigy upon it, and set fire to the whole. The mob then proceeded to the beautiful residence of Major James, of the royal artillery, a little way out of town, where they destroyed his fine library, works of art, and furniture, and desolated his choice garden. Isaac Sears and other leaders of the assembled citizens tried to restrain them, but could not. After parading the streets with the Stamp Act printed upon large sheets and raised upon poles, headed " England's Folly and America's Ruin," they quietly dispersed. The governor gave up the stamps (November 5) to the mayor and the corporation of the city of New York, and they were deposited in the City Hall. The losers by the riots were indemnified by the Colonial Assembly.




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