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The Society once again sponsored a team in the Library's Triple Threat Trivia fund raiser. The team made a very respectable showing, tieing for 4th place. They missed the top three by one point. The members of the team dressed to represent some of Malden's famous personalities. On the left is Mary Hampton as Edna May Oliver, 1939 Oscar winner for "Drums along the Mohawk" and a Malden native. See some of the other team members below.
Description of news story.
Malden Responds to the Stamp Act
The opening salvo of the American Revolution was fired 250 years ago. The shot was not musket or cannon balls but a tax levied by the British Parliament. November 1, 2015 will mark the sestercentennial of the day the Stamp Act took effect in the American colonies.
In Massachusetts, as in other colonies, protests rang out. The Act was a violation of their traditional, constitutional rights as British subjects: it imposed taxation on those who had no representation in Parliament. People voiced their indignation and alarm from town meeting floor, church pulpits, newspapers, political pamphlets, and violent street protests. Although the detested Act was eventually rescinded--to great joy and public celebration in Massachusetts’ towns and cities--it would turn out to be merely the first in a cascade of public protests against Parliamentary acts that violated the rights and insulted the dignity of colonists.
These protests took place in our towns, led by local farmers, ministers, craftsmen, farmwives, sons and daughters. History books recall the more famous demonstrations--mob actions in Boston where the Stamp Act Officer was hung in effigy and burned in bonfires, riots that destroyed government officials’ homes. Yet protest was widespread and bubbled up as intensely in the countryside as in the city.
The people of Malden joined in that protest. Hear their words: “At a public town meeting in Malden the 17th day of October 1765, voted that the following instructions be given to Capt. Ebenezer Harnden of said Malden, our present representative in General Court: That you promote and readily join in such dutiful remonstrances and humble petitions to the King and Parliament...as may have a tendency to obtain a repeal of the Stamp Act and of the heavy burdens thereby imposed on the American British colonies. We are of opinion that...the Stamp Act [lays]...a very burdensome and in our opinion unconstitutional tax...upon us all and we [are] subjected to numerous and enormous penalties.... These are our sentiments of the Stamp Act. We therefore, the inhabitants of said town, being legally assembled for this purpose, must enjoin it upon you not to comply with any measures or proposals for countenancing the same or assisting in the execution of it; but by all lawful means consistent with our allegiance to the King and relations to Great Britain, to oppose the execution of it until we can hear the success of the cries and petitions of America for relief.” These words are stirring reminders of how deeply committed the people of our town were to safeguarding their traditional rights.
Why should we bother to recall what happened in our towns 250 years ago? Because public engagement for the general welfare mattered then, and can continue to inspire and engage us today.
Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area is working with volunteers from the Malden Historical Society (www.maldenhistoricalsociety.org) to recover our local history in the years leading up to the Revolution. The program, Paths of the Patriots, traces the words and actions of local people and weaves them into stories of our town’s resistance to oppression and growing commitment to defending their “just rights and liberties.” Paths of the Patriots reminds us: we can make history.
The Society has just signed a contract to particpate in the publication of a new book on the history of Malden. Watch here for more details.
We are a non-profit organization and welcome any kind of support. If you would like to help out, please contact us for a list of our most needed items or volunteer opportunities.
Malden Historical Society
36 Salem St
Malden, MA 02148
Phone: +1 781 3389365+1 781 338-9365