lead up to the stamp act riot
In one of many letters signed "OZ" in the newspaper, Martin Howard and Dr. Thomas Moffat argued against Rhode Island's liberal charter. These letters sparked the anger of many Rhode Islanders.
Rhode Island's Governor argued the Sugar and Stamp Acts were illegal because the colonies were not represented in Parliament.
Newporter Martin Howard anonymously responded to the Governor with this pamphlet, arguing that the Acts were legal because the colonists were represented virtually by Parliament.
Before the Stamp Act riot, Newporters rioted against British naval impressment by burning the boat of the Maidstone. Read the newspaper account here.
One day before the Stamp Act riot, Martin Howard noted his disappointment that the Patriots "under a Pretence of serving the Cause of Liberty, would take away the Right of private Judgement" and refused to recant his unpopular opinions.
Accounts of the stamp act riot
Read the Newport Mercury's account of Newport's Stamp Act riot. Note that the first day's demonstration is noted to have taken place "with Moderation, and no Violence offered to the Persons or Property of any Man," but on the second day the mob "committed outrages equally terribly, in tearing the House to Pieces, and demolishing his Furniture."
Town leaders offered a reward for information about participants in the Stamp Act riot.
William Almy related the details of the Stamp Act riot to his friend Doctor Elisha Story in Boston.
Dr. Moffat provided his friend J. Harrison with details about the Stamp Act riot.
Martin Howard submitted a list of his losses to Rhode Island, hoping to be compensated. The colony accused him of overstating the damage done and after dragging out his complaint, never did compensate him.
Martin Howard wrote to Benjamin Franklin, who was in London trying to have Pennsylvania's charter revoked, asking for help getting Rhode Island's charter revoked too- and to be appointed Stamp Tax collector.
After her husband's death, Patience Johnston was left begging for funds from his friends. In this letter, she details her concern for her children's futures.
Thomas Vernon kept this diary of his day to day life after being exiled from Newport for refusing to sign the Test Act, an oath of allegiance to the Patriots.
Loyalist Mr. Murray wrote this letter to a friend in Newport asking if he could return to Newport from Nova Scotia without being ostracized by the community.
Loyalist Mary Almy differed politically from her husband Benjamin. In 1778, while he served in the Continental Army, she kept a diary of letters addressed to him. In passages like these, she expressed her concern for his safety despite her opposition to his cause.
These excerpts from minister Ezra Stiles' writings detail his dislike of the Stamp Act, but also reveal his discomfort with violent protests.