The Massachusetts Circular Letter was a statement written by Samuel Adams and James Otis Jr., and passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives on February 11, 1768 in response to the Townshend Acts. In the course of a year, the letter was received by assemblies throughout the Colonies. The letter greatly disturbed Parliament, and Governor Bernard was ordered to demand that the vote of the House should be rescinded, under penalty of his dissolving the General Court.
Dr. John Calef represented the town of Ipswich in the General Court, but was among only seventeen members of the Massachusetts Assembly who voted to retract the Circular Letter. Paul Revere responded with a print entitled “A Warm Place Hell,” showing the devil with a pitchfork pushing the 17 men into the mouth of Hell. Dr. John Calef is represented in the engraving with a calf’s head. Anger by Ipswich citizens at Calef’s vote resulted in his replacement in the assembly by General Michael Farley. During the Revolution, Calef fled to Ft. George at Penobscot.
The “Detested Tea” and the Ipswich Resolves-From Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, by Thomas Franklin Waters In 1767, the Townshend Acts were passed, one of which provided for a tax on wine, glass, tea, gloves, etc, imported into the Province. During the winter, the General Court issued a Circular Letter, which was sent […]
The Ipswich Convention and the Essex Result-Delegates from 67 towns arrived in Ipswich on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 1774 and began deliberations regarding a Constitution for Massachusetts. "Surely a state of nature is more excellent than that in which men are meanly submissive to the haughty will of an imperious tyrant."
The Great Ipswich Fright, April 21, 1775-A rumor spread that two British ships were in the river, and were going to burn the town. The news spread as far as New Hampshire, and in every place the report was that the regulars were but a few miles behind them, slashing everyone in sight.
The Newburyport Tea Party-When Parliament laid a tax on tea, the British locked all the tea that had arrived in Newburyport into the powder house. Eleazer Johnson led a group of men who shattered the door and burned the tea in Market Square.
Madame Shatswell’s cup of tea-Madame Shatswell loved her cup of tea, and as a large store had been stored for family use before the hated tax was imposed, she saw no harm in using it as usual. News of the treason spread throughout the town.
The Massachusetts Circular Letter, February 11, 1768-Dr. John Calef represented Ipswich in the Massachusetts Assembly and was one of only 17 members who voted to retract the Circular Letter opposing the Townshend Acts. An engraving by Paul Revere portrays Calef being pushed into Hell.
Ipswich mob attacks Loyalist Representative Dr. John Calef-Dr. John Calef was among a handful of members of the Massachusetts Assembly who voted to retract the "Massachusetts Circular Letter" which was adopted in response to the 1767 Townshend Acts. Ipswich citizens' anger at Calef lingered as war with England approached.
General Michael Farley-In 1774, the Town of Ipswich chose Michael Farley, a tanner, as a delegate to the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. Farley fought for the Continental Army and was appointed major-general of the Militia of Massachusetts in 1777. He is buried at the Old North Burying Ground beside his wife Elizabeth. His house was demolished in the 20th Century, replaced by a service station that is now the Richdale store.
The Arnold Expedition arrives in Ipswich, September 15, 1775-A memorial sits in the intersection between the South Green and the site of the former South Congregational Church in Ipswich. It reads, “The expedition against Quebec, Benedict Arnold in command, Aaron Burr in the ranks, marched by this spot, September 15, 1775."
The “Commonwealth”-"Commonwealth" is defined as a state in which authority is vested in the citizenry. In the 17th Century it was the radical philosophy the work and the proceeds thereof should be shared by the people.
Ipswich in the Revolutionary War-On June 10th, 1776, the men of Ipswich, in Town-meeting assembled, instructed their Representatives, that if the Continental Congress should for the safety of the said Colonies Declare them Independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, they will solemnly engage with their lives and Fortunes to support them in the Measure.
A “Revolutionary” Christmas dinner in 1823-On Christmas Day 1823, Gen Benjamin Pierce of Hillsborough, NH held a reunion of twenty-two citizens who had served in the War of Independence. The oldest attendee was Ammi Andrews, born in Ipswich, MA, aged 89 years.
5-7 Poplar Street, the Dr. John Calef house (1671)-This house was built on South Main St. between 1671 and 1688 by Deacon Thomas Knowlton. In the mid-18th Century the house was owned by Dr. John Calef, a Loyalist. John Heard moved the house to its present location in order to build his elaborate Federalist home which now houses the Ipswich Museum.
88 County Road, the Col. Nathaniel Wade House (1727)-This house was built in 1727 by Captain Thomas Wade. On September 25, 1780, his son Nathaniel Wade received an urgent correspondence from General George Washington that General Arnold had "gone to the enemy" and to take command at West Point. The house is protected by a preservation covenant with the Ipswich Historical Commission.
The Ipswich Museum is hosting a series of "Sunday Strolls" beginning in April. Each guided walk around town will explore a historical theme. Reserve your tickets online or call the museum at 978-356-2811 Walks begin at 2pm departing from the Ipswich Museum Heard House.