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Ridin’ With Paul

Okay, last time, I had started talking about Paul Revere.


There is good reason for my mentioning He Of The Midnight Ride. He lived in the North End, long ago and far away. His house is there and is still maintained as a museum. We didn’t go there this time around, but we have been there, and I strongly urge anyone with an interest in American history to give it a visit. You get a feel for the man, and, more importantly, for the way people lived at the time. (Duck your heads! Ceilings are low!)





About the photos: Two today. The first is good old Paul Revere. This is an image which I produced with Stable Diffusion using the Mage site .


I’ve always had an interest in good ole Paul R. He seems to me to be a marvelously typical example of the standard issue New England Revolutionary of his age. He was a middle class entrepreneur who stood on his own two feet and grew affluent due to his industry, skill, and business acumen. Strangely enough, both Benjamin Franklin and Karl Marx would have approved of him. Franklin because he typified all the characteristics of thrift and industry which that goodly man and founding father valued. Franklin, after all, supposedly designed the “Fugio cent,” the nation’s first official coin, and on it Franklin included the slogan “mind your business,” -- not in the sense of “mind your own business,” (i.e., keep your nose out of other people’s affairs), but in the sense of “pay attention to your affairs.” And Revere did that diligently.(1)


And Karl Marx? Well, because Revere was the classic bourgeois revolutionary. He was one of those men who really believed in human equality (or at least as much as anyone did in the late eighteenth century), whose economic doctrine was unrestrained free enterprise, and who was willing to fight to send the remnants of Feudalism back to the other side of the Atlantic. And, all of that, from a Marxist perspective, was good and progressive.


Thus, briefly at least, Right and Left are reconciled.



The second picture has nothing to do with Paul or the North End. However, I like the photo and think it is funny and cute. This is Martha in front of a concrete Hippopotamus in the town of Hutto, Texas. For a variety of improbable reasons, the town is wild about Hippos. I’ll write about one of our trips there at some point in the future.


As for Paul himself, he is famous mostly for his role as a revolutionary, and in particular for his “ride.” And, yes, he really did take a warning of the British troop movements inland, away from Boston, and he did so in the dead of night, and his warnings were valued.(2) The British were, by the way, trying to get to Concord and Lexington because there were arms hidden there, and because the Massachussets Provincial Congress was sitting in Concord.


But, by the time the British actually managed to march that far west, Paul (and other riders) had spread the word, the country was alive with men with guns, and things got nasty for the Redcoats. The British eventually had to turn around and head back to Boston...with the Americans shooting at them from concealment the whole way. At least from what I’ve read, I gather that the retreat was a nightmare, with every rock, hill, and tree a potential threat.


And thus the Revolution, per se, began. Though, of course, in some ways, it had been going on for quite some time...what with riots and protests and tea being thrown in harbors, and so on. But every major historical event needs a handy reference point--some place where we can put a check and say, “Here’s where it started.” And, Concord and Lexington...the “rude bridge that arched the flood” and the “shot heard round the world” ...are as good a set of markers as any.


And that’s my take my Paul, famous North Ender and American icon. I could shut up about him now. But, as you know, I’m a verbose narcissist. So I’m going to tell one more little story about him...and me...and our weird connection.


But that’s for next time.


More to come.



Footnotes:



1. For more on the Fugio or Franklin cent, go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugio_cent

2. See The Midnight Ride, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Revere%27s_Midnight_Ride#Bibliography










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~mjt



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