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BOSTON MASSACRE ORATIONS

On March 5, 1771, one year to the day following the Boston Massacre, the Town Fathers of the Town of Boston decided that there needed to be a public oration to remember the event.

 

Massacre Orations

1771

Dr. Thomas Young
(1731 – 1777)

 No copy of Doctor Young’s address has yet been discovered.

An avowed Deist from Connecticut, Dr. Young moved to Boston in 1765.  Dr. Thomas Young was a member of the Committee for Correspondence in 1772.  In 1774, Young left Boston for Newport and eventually moved on to Philadelphia where he aided in the drafting of the Pennsylvania State Constitution.  As a physician, he served the American army as surgeon.

1771

James Lovell
(1737 – 1814)

Born at Boston on the 31st of October, 1737, Master James Lovell entered Latin school in 1744 and graduated Harvard in 1756.  Lovell served as usher in the Latin School, of which his father was Master until the battles of Lexington & Concord in 1775.  Lovell was arrested and thrown into jail by General William Howe who found letters on the body of General Joseph Warren implicating Lovell in working against the British army.  Lovell continued in the custody of the British army even after they removed to Halifax, NS.  He was finally exchanged for Colonel Skene of Ticonderoga in November of 1776.  In December of 1776 he was elected as a representative to the Continental Congress and he served in several early Federal offices such as Collector of Taxes and Collector of the Port of Boston until his death.

1772

Dr. Joseph Warren
(1741 – 1775)

Dr. Warren was born the 11th of June 1741 in Roxbury, Massachusetts the son of a farmer.  He attended Roxbury Latin School and graduated Harvard College in 1759.  An ardent Son of Liberty he was strongly associated with the Patriot cause.  He performed the autopsy on Christopher Seider, the boy killed by Ebenezer Richardson who fired a gun filled with swan shot out his window at a group of protesting boys.  Dr. Warren was a Master Mason who authored the song “Free America” in 1774.  Warren was appointed President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and drafted the Suffolk County Resolves.  He was killed in the redoubt at the Battle of Bunker Hill.  The identification of his body following the evacuation of the British was done using dental work performed on him by Paul Revere.

1773

Dr. Benjamin Church
(1734 – 1778)

Dr. Church was born in Newport, RI on 24 August 1734.  He attended Latin School and Harvard (1754).  He went to England where he trained in the London Medical College.  Dr. Church performed the autopsy on Crispus Attucks and was a deponent in the trial. In October of 1775, Dr. Church was convicted by a court martial of holding criminal correspondence with the enemy and expelled from camp.  A further examination of the House of Representatives condemned Church and the Continental Congress desired him to be imprisoned in Connecticut.  Dr. Church was released from jail in May of 1776 and returned to Massachusetts where he was imprisioned until 1778 when he was banished under the Massachusetts Banishment Act.  It was said to sail for London, or Martinique, but he was never heard from again.

1774

John Hancock
(1737 – 1793)

John Hancock was born in Braintree on January 23, 1737 in Braintree, Massachusetts.  When John was 7 years old, his father passed away, prompting the family to place him in the care of his uncle, Thomas Hancock and his wife Lydia.  John attended Latin School and Harvard College (1754) and he was trained up in his uncle’s import and export business.  He would eventually inherit the Hancock mercantile business, as well as the large and well-appointed house on Beacon Hill.  Despite his wealth, Hancock played an important role in the lead up to American Independence and held several important public offices, including the Presidency of the Second Continental Congress, during which he famously affixed a large signature to the Declaration of Independence.  He served as commander of the Massachusetts militia and was active in the naval forces of the American Revolution, raising money to build and outfit cruisers and frigates for the nascent American navy.  After the Revolution, he served several terms as Governor of Massachusetts.

1775

Dr. Joseph Warren
(1741 – 1775)

See above.

1776

Peter Thacher
(1752 – 1802)

Reverend Peter Thacher was born in Milton, Massachusetts on the 21st of March 1752.  He entered Latin School in 1763 and graduated Harvard College in the class of 1769.  He was active in the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, and wrote, at their request, a narrative of the Battle of Bunker Hill.  He served as minister of the Brattle Street Church and was a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  After the Revolution, Rev. Thacher was frequently Chaplain of the Massachusetts Legislature.

1777

Benjamin Hichborn
(1746 – 1817)

Benjamin Hichborn was born in Boston on the 24th of February 1746 and was a graduate of Harvard College (1768).  An eminent lawyer, he was an early supporter of the cause for independence, a fact which saw him serve time as a captive onboard a British man of war in 1775.  He served as Colonel of the Corps of Cadets and marched with them to Rhode Island in 1778.

1778

Jonathan W. Austin
(1751 – 1779)

Jonathan Austin was born at Boston, April 18, 1751 and was a graduate of both Boston Latin School and Harvard College (1769).  Austin studied law with John Adams and was a sworn witness at the trial of the soldiers of the 29th Regiment in 1770.  He was admitted to the bar in Suffolk county and died in the service of America.

1779

William Tudor
(1750 – 1819)

William Tudor was born in Boston 28 March 1750 and entered the Latin School in 1758.  Tudor graduated Harvard College in 1769 and served as Judge Advocate General in General Washington’s army with the rank of Colonel.  Tudor also hosted the organizing meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  Tudor was one of John Adams law clerks in the early 1770s.

1780

Jonathan Mason
(1752 – 1831)

Jonathan Mason was born in Boston 30 August 1752; entered Latin School in 1763 and graduated Princeton College in 1774.  Mason was one of the deponents of the Boston Massacre.  He served in both the U.S. House of Representatives & the U.S. Senate.

1781

Thomas Dawes
(1758 – 1825)

Thomas Dawes was born at Boston on July 8, 1758.  He entered Latin School in 1766 and graduated Harvard College in 1777.  Dawes served in numerous judicial capacities including judge of Probate of Suffolk County and as Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

1782

George R. Minot
(1758 – 1802)

George Minot was born at Boston on 22 December 1758.  He entered the Latin School in 1767 and graduated at Harvard College in 1778.  He served in numerous judicial posts, including judge of Probate and judge of the Boston Municipal Court.  He was an early member of the Massachusetts Historical Society and edited the first 3 volumes of the Massachusetts Historical Collections.  He also published a continuation of Thomas Hutchinson’s History of Massachusetts, a History of the Insurrection in Massachusetts and several other works.

1783

Thomas Welsh
(1754 – 1831)

Thomas Welsh was born at Charlestown June 1, 1754 and was an army surgeon at Lexington and at the battle of Bunker Hill.  Dr. Welsh later served as surgeon on Castle Island.  He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Vice President of the Massachusetts Medical Society.

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