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Gaspee Raiders
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This is a history education and research web site of the
Joseph Bucklin Society.

References in brackets [  ] or in curly brackets {  } on any page in this website are to books, or other materials, listed in the Joseph Bucklin Society Gaspee Bibliography, or to materials held by the Joseph Bucklin Society.


The following quotation is from The Columbia Encyclopedia ( Fifth Ed., Columbia University Press)

This is an example of how the Gaspee Affair is summarized in most 20th century history and reference books. 

"Gaspee"[gas´pE] : British revenue cutter, burned (June 10, 1772) at Namquit (now Gaspee) Point in the present-day city of Warwick on the western shore of Narragansett Bay, R.I. The vessel arrived in March, 1772, to enforce the revenue laws in an area where virtually the whole citizenry was engaged in smuggling, and her presence was decidedly unwelcome. Her commander, Lieutenant Dudingston, provoked the navigators of the bay further by the manner in which he carried out his duties. On June 9, 1772, the Gaspee was lured aground c.7 mi (11 km) S of Providence while giving chase to a suspect.

A group of prominent Providence men, including John Brown and Joseph Bucklin, decided to burn the ship, and Capt. Abraham Whipple led the raiders. They boarded the Gaspee, wounded the commander, captured the crew, and then burned the vessel at the water's edge.

Gov. Joseph Wanton, in the difficult position of having to enforce British regulations without offending his constituents (Rhode Island elected its own governor), admirably solved the problem by issuing proclamations for the arrest of the officially unknown offenders and then doing virtually nothing about them. Despite a large reward offered by the British, the names of the men involved, though well known in Providence, were not revealed until after the outbreak of the American Revolution.

The incident was one of the most famous colonial acts of defiance in the troubled years before independence."

Here at the Joseph Bucklin Society we offer the above as a typical summary of this" famous colonial act... of defiance in the troubled years before independence".  Like most casual summaries of the event, this in the Colombia Encyclopedia contains errors.  For example, the "Joseph Bucklin" who was in the attacking group was only 18 years old and not "prominent", although he was the son of a prominent Providence merchant of the same name.   There is no direct evidence that the "Joseph Bucklin" in the boarding party (or his father) engaged in any planning of the attack or any decision to burn the ship.

For our Joseph Bucklin Society "official" condensed version, see Story of the Gaspee Affair.

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