In 1747, a British Commodore began kidnapping sailors and working men in Boston, and the people of the city wouldn’t stand for it. Three days of violence followed, in a draft riot that pitted the working class of Boston against the Colonial government and Royal Navy.
The 1747 Impressment Riot
- Boston Riots: Three Centuries of Social Violence, by Jack Tager was very helpful in preparing this episode.
- The Knowles Atlantic Impressment Riots of the 1740s, by Denver Brunsman gives wider context.
- Samuel Gardner Drake’s History and Antiquities of Boston from its Settlement in 1630 to the Year 1770 summarizes the “dangerous tumult” of the riot.
- A letter from Governor Shirley about the riot.
- An engraving of a 1770 British press gang.
Featured Historic Site
The Shirley-Eustis House in Roxbury was built by Massachusetts Royal Governor William Shirley (who features in this episode), and later remodeled and resided in by Democratic-Republican Governor William Eustis. More information.
Hear an author talk by Richard Aldous, who wrote a recent biography of historian and Kennedy administration member Arthur Schlesinger. Monday, November 20, at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Register now.