Monday, October 13, 2014
7 Reasons Everyone Hated Paul Revere
Under the moonlit New England sky, a lone figure on a majestic steed courageously brings the warning of an approaching army to the people of Concord and Lexington.
The myth of Paul Revere, perpetuated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and others throughout history, has endured to this day, and though the warning was real, the man who brought it was far from the universally admired figure that we think we know today.
Borrowing from his new book on the Revolutionary icon, The Court-Martial of Paul Revere, Michael Greenburg offers several instances in which the so-called hero fell well short of his legend:
1. After the midnight ride, no more free rides.
2. Even his mother?
Ever the business man, Revere charged rent to his own mother for lodging in his North End home.
3. He once got mad at a hatter—really mad.
In May of 1761, more than a decade before his famous ride, Revere was charged in the courts of Suffolk County for criminally “assaulting and beating” a hatter by the name of Thomas Fosdick, who was married to one of Revere’s cousins. Revere denied the charge and pleaded not guilty, but after a full hearing on the matter, Judge Richard Dana ruled, “it appears he is guilty.” The defendant was fined for his transgression and ordered “to keep ye peace & be of good behavior.
4. He helped “invent” the Tea Party.
Revere was an active participant in the Boston Tea Party, which was in fact a meticulously conceived, major act of vandalism conducted by a band of hooligans bent on violent insurrection.
5. And the Boston Massacre, too.
Following the Boston Massacre, Revere created a copperplate engraving that depicted the event in a generally inflammatory and inaccurate light. Though he profited by the prints that were widely circulated in newspapers of the day and were reproduced innumerable times throughout history, Revere was accused of misappropriating the work of a Boston engraver by the name of Henry Pelham. “I… find myself in the most ungenerous Manner deprived not only of any proposed Advantage but even of the expense I have been at as truly as if you had plundered me on the highway,” wrote Pelham in a scathing letter to Revere. “If you are insensible of the Dishonour you have brought on yourself by this Act, the World will not be so. However, I leave you to reflect and consider of one of the most dishonourable Actions you could well be guilty of.”
6. He didn’t suffer cowards well.
In an effort to force five deserters to return to his artillery regiment on Castle Island, the fort on which Revere was commander, he gave the order for his cannon to open fire on an American war ship.
7. But he was worse at following orders.
During the ill-fated Penobscot Expedition, General Peleg Wadsworth, the grandfather of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ordered a barge under the control of Lieutenant Colonel Paul Revere to be launched in the rescue of a besieged American Schooner. Instead of allowing his men to follow the order, Revere indignantly turned to the general and grumbled that his personal baggage and other belongings were stowed on the barge. “Who would thank [me] for loosing that, in attempting to Save the Schooner to the State?” said Revere. Wadsworth would promise Revere’s immediate arrest for the act and Revere would, in fact, face a court-martial for opposing Wadsworth’s order and for leaving the Penobscot River without orders to do so.
This has been reposted from Buzzfeed.com.