British Customs Vessel, Gaspee, Burns Off Rhode Island

On this day in 1772, colonists, angered by the British Parliament’s passing of the Townshend Acts restricting colonial trade, blacken their faces and board the HMS Gaspee, an armed British customs schooner that had run aground off the coast of Rhode Island. They then wounded the ship’s commander and set it aflame.

The Gaspee was pursuing American Captain Thomas Lindsey’s packet from Newport, when it ran aground off Namquit Point in Providence’s Narragansett Bay on June 9. That evening, John Brown, an American merchant angered by high British taxes on his goods, rowed out to the Gaspee with eight long-boats with muffled oars and as a many as 67 colonists and seized control of the ship, shooting its Scottish captain%2

Posted in American Revolution.