The News Media and the Making of America, 1730-1865

Letter from Samuel Salisbury to Stephen Salisbury, April 20, 1775

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Description

Samuel Salisbury (1739-1818) and his brother Stephen Salisbury (1746-1829) were in business together importing and selling merchandise from England and the West Indies. Samuel was located in Boston while Stephen came to the central Massachusetts shire town of Worcester in 1767. Both brothers would eventually side with the Whigs, but they did so gradually and somewhat reluctantly, preferring to remain apolitical and concentrate their efforts on their private business. Eventually, Stephen would serve on several committees during the war.

In this poignant letter Samuel describes to his brother his reactions to watching from Beacon Hill in Boston the American militia engage with the royal infantry as they retreated from Lexington and Concord. He laments the beginning of this “Civil War” that will become the American Revolution. He chides the royal government for being “backward,” that is, not forthcoming and honest about the number of causalities the troops incurred. There is also a clear sense of pride in how well the American militia fought. Yet this remarkable letter also clearly shows how difficult and uncertain the situation was at the time.

A transcription of the letter can be found here.

Title

Letter from Samuel Salisbury to Stephen Salisbury, April 20, 1775

Type

Manuscript

Creator

Salisbury, Samuel, 1739-1818

Date

April 20, 1775

Coverage

Boston, Mass.

Citation

Salisbury, Samuel, 1739-1818, “Letter from Samuel Salisbury to Stephen Salisbury, April 20, 1775,” The News Media and the Making of America, 1730-1865, accessed May 26, 2020, https://americanantiquarian.org/earlyamericannewsmedia/items/show/47.