If you have ever joined Untapped History for one of its historic walking tours of Newburyport, you would have finished the tour with a sampling of alcoholic drinks from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. During the sampling, it’s likely Alex and Eric (the “nerds”) would have invited you to partake in a series of historically accurate toasts tied to the American Revolution.
The nerds of Untapped History tell us they relied upon period accounts and records from New York and Pennsylvania to come up with the toasts they offer. However, thanks to the Newburyport Independent Marines, Untapped History may be introducing a series of period correct toasts directly tied to the 18th Century "Port".
As we have previously written, the Newburyport Marine Society was founded on November 5, 1772 by ship captains and merchants. In September, 1774, the members formed their own military unit known as the “Independent Marines”. Shortly thereafter, the organization was on a wartime footing in preparation for a conflict with England.
The September 21, 1774 edition of Essex Journal and Merrimack Packet details some of the early activities of the Independent Marines. “Wednesday last the independent military society in this town met at the town-house compleat in arms and ammunition: After having been reviewed by their officers chosen by the society, they performed the manual exercise and filings, after which they marched to the Mason's arms tavern, and there performed the evolutions; and from thence marched to Mr. William Tell's (a gentleman that has always not only talked, but acted upon the genuine principles of patriotism), who had prepared an elegant entertainment for the society; after spending a few very agreeable hours with a number of gentlemen (whom Mr. 'Feel had invited) in conversation, repast, and drinking a number of loyal and patriotic toasts, the society again rally, march to the town-house, and after firing three vollies lodged their arms. All was conducted with the greatest order and good humour.”
Untapped History recently discovered a second account describing the Independent Marines’ wartime preparation. The report appeared in the October 26, 1774 edition of the Essex Gazette. While the article describes the unit performing a series of complex military maneuvers, it is notable that the unit also sponsored a post drill social gathering that included no less than twenty four toasts!
Here is a copy of the article that details the toasts made:
The two dozen toasts paid homage to a variety of “patriotic” individuals and organization, including Committees of Correspondence, Bostonians, John Hancock, Josiah Quincy and the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. It also calls for the "Reformation of All Tories".
We look forward to seeing these Newburyport specific toasts being introduced to Untapped History's tours. Hopefully the guests (and Alex) will be able to keep up with twenty-four toasts!!