8 Complaints Real Colonists Had About British Rule

“No taxation without representation!” “Give me liberty, or give me death!” “The British are coming!” The American Revolution had no shortage of mottos—things famously said by famous men and drilled into your brain by your history teachers. But the regular, non-Declaration-signing colonists had plenty of opinions about the oppressive British rule as well. Here are eight real grievances aired by colonial citizens leading up to and during the Revolutionary War—in their own words.

1. The Townshend Acts of 1767 “Threaten the Country with Poverty and Ruin.”

At a town meeting held at Faneuil Hall in Boston on October 28, 1767, Boston Freeholders and residents discussed the implications of the brutal Townshend Acts levied against the colonists. The Townshend Acts were a set of four acts passed by the British Parliament in the summer of 1767 in order to generate revenue for the Crown (through duties on goods such as lead, glass, paper, and tea) as well as exert British control over the increasingly rebellious colonists.

During the Oct. 28 meeting, the Bostonians found:

The excessive use of foreign superfluities is the chief cause of the present distressed state of this town, as it is thereby drained of its money: which misfortune is likely to be increased by means of the late additional burthens and impositions on the trade of the province, which threaten the country with poverty and ruin.

As a result, the citizens unanimously voted to boycott all British-made goods.

2. “Save your Money, and Save your Country!”

On November 16, 1767, the Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser ran a letter from a man speaking in favor of Boston’s decision to boycott British-made goods. The unnamed letter-writer commends the Town of Boston “for setting so laudable an example” to encourage the production of goods in the colonies.

He ends his declaration of support with the rousing words:

Thus my countrymen, by consuming less of what we are not really in want of, and by industriously cultivating and improving the natural advantages of our own country, we might save our substance, even our lands, from becoming the property of others, and we might effectually preserve our virtue and our liberty, to the latest posterity. Blessings, surely, which no man, while in the exercise of his reason will contentedly part with, for a few foreign trifles. Save your Money, and save your Country!

3. “Since money's so scarce, and times growing worse / Strange things may soon hap and surprize you.”

The same issue of the Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser ran an “Address to the Ladies”—a rhyming poem that encourages women to exchange their satin ribbons for colonial twine and fancy brocade for homemade linen. Here’s a taste:

Young ladies in town, and those that live round,
Let a friend at this season advise you:
Since money's so scarce, and times growing worse
Strange things may soon hap and surprize you:
First then, throw aside your high top knots of pride
Wear none but your own country linen;
Of economy boast, let your pride be the most
To show clothes of your own make and spinning.
What, if homespun they say is not quite so gay
As brocades, yet be not in a passion,
For when once it is known this is much wore in town,
One and all will cry out, 'tis the fashion!

A fun twist comes in the final stanza, where the writer concludes that wearing homemade goods rather than foreign imports will make the ladies all the more fetching to colonial gentlemen.

4. “No tea, but as much New-England Rum as you please.”

But the ladies, it seems, didn’t need any encouragement. While the men were drafting declarations and having town meetings, the women were busy with protests of their own. As women typically took care of buying the household goods (like food, ink, and fabric for clothes), they were the ones to really carry out the boycott of items taxed by the Townshend Acts.

In the December 24, 1767, issue of the The Massachusetts Gazette Extraordinary, an article praised an “assembly of Ladies of the first quality” for doing just that. In addition to forsaking hair ribbons and taking up spinning, this group of women “drink nothing at their meetings but New England Rum.” The article continues, “And the patriotism of the above Ladies is more illustrious and worthy of imitation, as Rum is the principal and almost only manufacture of this country.”

5. “The very nature of freedom supposes that no tax can be levied on a people without their consent.”

In 1769, schoolmaster Charles Thomson (who would go on to become Secretary of the Continental Congress), writing on behalf of the Philadelphia Merchants’ Committee, declares that the taxes levied against the colonies are for the express purpose of depriving Americans of their liberties. He writes:

How much further they may proceed is uncertain; but from what they have already done the colonies see that their property is precarious & their liberty insecure. It is true the impositions already laid are not very grievous; but if the principle is established, and the authority, by which they are laid, admitted, there is no security for what remains. The very nature of freedom supposes that no tax can be levied on a people without their consent given personally or by their representatives.

6. Protests Turned to Violence During the “Catastrophe” of the “Horrid Massacre in Boston.”

Following the colonists’ adverse reaction to the Quartering, Stamp, and Townshend Acts, Great Britain installed armed forces in Boston to help keep the peace. On March 5, 1770, after two years of military presence in Boston, the first blood of what would become the Revolutionary War was shed when British troops opened fire on colonial civilians, killing six men.

Before chronicling the events of the massacre, an anonymous witness set the scene by laying bare the colonists' anger at the installed troops:

Thus were we, in aggravation of our other embarrassments, embarrassed with troops, forced upon us contrary to our inclination–contrary to the spirit of Magna Charta–contrary to the very letter of the Bill of Rights, in which it is declared, that the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with the consent of parliament, is against law.

7. “By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.”

In 1773, newspapers in Boston and Philadelphia published a letter to the Commissioners of the East India Company in regards to the high taxes on tea in the colonies. As middlemen between the British rulers and the taxpaying American citizens, the writers proclaim, the East India Company Commissioners “are marked out as political Bombardiers to demolish the fair structure of American liberty.” The letter-writers ask that the Commissioners ignore Parliament’s sanctions and instead stand with the colonies.

8. “We are directly to cut up your corn, shoot your pigs, burn your houses.”

While the revolutionaries had much to complain about during the 1760s and ‘70s, loyalists—who often felt persecuted by the so-called rebels—had their own set of grievances to air. Janet Schaw, a Scot visiting her brother in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 1775, wrote of her time in the colonies:

At present the martial law stands thus: An officer or committeeman enters a plantation with his posse. The alternative is proposed. Agree to join us [Whigs] and your persons and properties are safe . . . if you refuse, we are directly to cut up your corn, shoot your pigs, burn your houses, … and perhaps tar and feather yourself. Not to choose the first requires more courage than they are possessed of, and I believe this method has seldom failed with the lower sort.

7 Historic European Castles Virtually Rebuilt Before Your Very Eyes

A reconstruction of Spiš Castle in eastern Slovakia.
A reconstruction of Spiš Castle in eastern Slovakia.
Budget Direct

While some centuries-old castles are still standing tall, others haven’t withstood the ravages of time, war, or natural disaster quite as well. To give you an idea of what once was, Australia-based insurance company Budget Direct has digitally reconstructed seven of them for its blog, Simply Savvy.

Watch below as ruins across Europe transform back into the formidable forts and turreted castles they used to be, courtesy of a little modern-day magic we call GIF technology.

1. Samobor Castle // Samobor, Croatia

samobor castle
Samobor Castle in Samobor, Croatia
Budget Direct

The only remaining piece of the 13th-century castle built by Bohemia’s King Ottokar II is the base of the guard tower—the rest of the ruins are from an expansion that happened about 300 years later. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the Croatian city of Samobor, which bought the property in 1902.

2. Château Gaillard // Les Andelys, France

Château Gaillard in Les Andelys, France
Château Gaillard in Les Andelys, France
Budget Direct

King Richard I of England built Château Gaillard in just two years during the late 12th century as a fortress to protect the Duchy of Normandy, which belonged to England at the time, from French invasion. It didn’t last very long—France’s King Philip II captured it six years later.

3. Dunnottar Castle // Stonehaven, Scotland

Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland
Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland
Budget Direct

Dunnottar Castle overlooks the North Sea and is perhaps best known as the fortress that William Wallace (portrayed by Mel Gibson in 1995’s Braveheart) and Scottish forces won back from English occupation in 1297. Later, it became the place where the Scottish monarchy stored their crown jewels, which were smuggled to safety when Oliver Cromwell invaded during the 17th century.

4. Menlo Castle // Galway City, Ireland

Menlo Castle in Galway City, Ireland
Menlo Castle in Galway City, Ireland
Budget Direct

This ivy-covered Irish castle was built during the 16th century and all but destroyed in a fire in 1910. For those few centuries, it was home to the Blake family, English nobles who owned property all over the region.

5. Olsztyn Castle // Olsztyn, Poland

Olsztyn Castle in Olsztyn, Poland
Olsztyn Castle in Olsztyn, Poland
Budget Direct

The earliest known mention of Olsztyn Castle was in 1306, so we know it was constructed some time before then and expanded later that century by King Casimir III of Poland. It was severely damaged during wars with Sweden in the 17th and 18th centuries, but its highest tower—once a prison—still stands.

6. Spiš Castle // Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia

Spiš Castle in Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia
Spiš Castle in Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia
Budget Direct

Slovakia’s massive Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century to mark the boundary of the Hungarian kingdom and fell to ruin after a fire in 1780. However, 20th-century restoration efforts helped fortify the remaining rooms, and it was even used as a filming location for parts of 1996’s DragonHeart.

7. Poenari Castle // Valachia, Romania

Poenari Castle in Valachia, Romania
Poenari Castle in Valachia, Romania
Budget Direct

This 13th-century Romanian castle boasts one previous resident of some celebrity: Vlad the Impaler, or Vlad Dracula, who may have been an early influence for Bram Stoker’s vampire, Dracula. It also boasts a staggering 1480 stone steps, which you can still climb today.

[h/t Simply Savvy]

America’s 10 Most Hated Easter Candies

Peeps are all out of cluck when it comes to confectionery popularity contests.
Peeps are all out of cluck when it comes to confectionery popularity contests.
William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Whether you celebrate Easter as a religious holiday or not, it’s an opportune time to welcome the sunny, flora-filled season of spring with a basket or two of your favorite candy. And when it comes to deciding which Easter-themed confections belong in that basket, people have pretty strong opinions.

This year, CandyStore.com surveyed more than 19,000 customers to find out which sugary treats are widely considered the worst. If you’re a traditionalist, this may come as a shock: Cadbury Creme Eggs, Peeps, and solid chocolate bunnies are the top three on the list, and generic jelly beans landed in the ninth spot. While Peeps have long been polarizing, it’s a little surprising that the other three classics have so few supporters. Based on some comments left by participants, it seems like people are just really particular about the distinctions between certain types of candy.

Generic jelly beans, for example, were deemed old and bland, but people adore gourmet jelly beans, which were the fifth most popular Easter candy. Similarly, people thought Cadbury Creme Eggs were messy and low-quality, while Cadbury Mini Eggs—which topped the list of best candies—were considered inexplicably delicious and even “addictive.” And many candy lovers prefer hollow chocolate bunnies to solid ones, which people explained were simply “too much.” One participant even likened solid bunnies to bricks.

candystore.com's worst easter candies
The pretty pastel shades of bunny corn don't seem to be fooling the large contingent of candy corn haters.
CandyStore.com

If there’s one undeniable takeaway from the list of worst candies, it’s that a large portion of the population isn’t keen on chewy marshmallow treats in general. The eighth spot went to Hot Tamales Peeps, and Brach’s Marshmallow Chicks & Rabbits—which one person christened “the zombie bunny catacomb statue candy”—sits at number six.

Take a look at the full list below, and read more enlightening (and entertaining) survey comments here.

  1. Cadbury Creme Eggs
  1. Peeps
  1. Solid chocolate bunnies
  1. Bunny Corn
  1. Marshmallow Chicks & Rabbits
  1. Chocolate crosses
  1. Twix Eggs
  1. Hot Tamales Peeps
  1. Generic jelly beans
  1. Fluffy Stuff Cotton Tails

[h/t CandyStore.com]

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