Background: March - April 16, 1775
In March 1775, Samuel Adams and John Hancock arrived for an extended stay at Reverend Jonas Clarke's house in Lexington. Hancock and Clarke's wife Lucy were both grandchildren of Reverend John Hancock, who had long been Lexington's minister. John Hancock had grand aspirations, having inherited a fortune from his uncle, Thomas. Thomas Hancock had adopted young John after he had been orphaned at age eight. Thomas had amassed a fortune through smuggling and privateering, and being childless, had left it to John.
Samuel Adams had been born into a distiguished family, but he had been a commercial failure at several business ventures. He was a cousin of John Adams. With the political unrest that followed the French and Indian War, Adams found his calling.in the political arena. Because of his family's background, Adams moved within several political circles. He showed tremendous skill in manipulation. It was Adams that turned the "Boston Massacre" into a propaganda tool in 1770. He also had played a role in the planning of the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
Adams was now with Hancock in a mutually beneficial partnership. Hancock needed Adams'contacts with the various working class factions, who held little regard for the pompous Hancock. Adams needed Hancock's reputation as a moderate and to a lesser extent, the power that came with money. Adams had hoped to push the Massachusetts Provincial Congress into taking some kind of action, but though branded a rebel government, they were still unwilling to do little more than pass resolutions of opposition. Adams had hoped to push them into action, but got nowhere through the end of March.
Adams then received some intelligence passed to him by Dr. Joseph Warren from Arthur Lee, the colonial agent in London. The intelligence informed of Parliament's full support of the Crown's desire to enforce British authority. This brought about some minor actions by the Congress. On April 7th, a circular was prepared to urge eastern Massachusetts town militias to be prepared for emergency action. On April 8th, a resolution was passed to send representatives to the neighboring colonies of Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire about forming a provincial army. On April 13th, a resolution was passed to form six companies of artillery, but there was no money for pay or field pieces. On Saturday, April 15th, the session adjourned.
On Sunday April 16, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren sent Paul Revere to make a report to Hancock and Adams, warning of the possibility that British troops would soon be sent to arrest them. They were staying in Lexington, which was along the route from Boston to Concord. General Gage's troops had been making unusual maneuvers and preparations, which seemed to indicate an impending expedition.
Revere then continued on to Concord, warning the Patriots there to remove the powder and other war supplies stored in and around the town. He then made his way back to Boston, stopping in Charlestown and arranging a signal with Colonel Conant of the Charlestown Committee of Safety. One lantern in the North Church steeple of the British went by land over Boston Neck or two lanterns if they went by "sea" over the Charles River.
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