SHORT TALK BULLETIN - Vol.I    January, 1923    No.1 




                              by:  Unknown 



"Listen my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere

- " 

These opening lines of Longfellow's poem, and the  thrilling story which

follows, have fascinated us for many  years.  History has recorded the

details of the famous ride,  and the incidents connected with it; but

Masons know little  about Paul Revere that arouses enthusiasm.  It is my

purpose  tonight to bring out the important facts regarding him and  to

show the setting which brings our patriot brother closer  to us. 


The forefathers of Paul Revere were Huguenots, that  brave sect of French

Protestants who for many years defied  Rome and the King of France.  The

Huguenots maintained their  identity and churches in spite of edicts and

persecutions.   In 1540, six of their villages were completely destroyed

and  the inhabitants driven out, ravaged and murdered at the  behest of the

King.  On August 24, 1572, the Huguenots were  the victims of one of the

most despicable massacres that  ever took place - the Massacre of St.

Bartholomew - in which  more than six thousand of them were sought out in

Paris and  murdered in a human hunt lasting three days.  The waters of  the

seine ran red with blood; the bodies of the victims were  so numerous that

the current was unable to carry them away;  and for many miles the banks of

the river were covered with  their remains.  When the news of the massacre

reached Rome a  three day's celebration was ordered by the ecclesiastical 

authorities.  King Charles of France, who, together with his  mother, had

been influenced by Church leaders to order the  massacre, was congratulated

on the service thus performed  for the Holy Roman Church. 


The persecutions to which the Huguenots were subjected  caused more than

four hundred thousand French to leave the  country and settle elsewhere. 

Among those who fled was  Simon de Revoire, who moved to the Island of

Guernsey in the  English Channel.  Simon's brother Isaac, being a man with

a  large family, stayed on in a remote part of France, later  sending one

of his sons, Apollo de Revoire, to his Uncle  Simon, at the age of

thirteen.  After a time his uncle sent  the Nephew to Boston, where he was

apprenticed to a  Goldsmith.  Here he learned the secrets of the trade, and 

after a visit to Guernsey, he returned to America with the  intention of

making this country his home.  His first step  was to change his name to ne

more easily pronounced by his  english speaking neighbors, and he was

henceforth known as  Mr. Paul Revere. 


Establishing himself in business as a gold and  silversmith, Revere married

Miss Deborah Hitchborn in 1729.  Twelve children were born of this union. 

The Paul Revere  we are discussing tonight was the third of these, born 

January 8, 1735. 


We learn that Revere received his education at the  famous old "North

Grammar School" kept by Master John  Tileson, who taught school in Boston

for eighty years.  He  was especially famed for his skill in penmanship. 

Doubtless  we have here the foundation for one of Revere's later 

activities - engraved lettering. 


Young Paul Revere followed in his father's footsteps as  a Gold and

Silversmith.  Specimens of his work are still  treasured to this day in

some old New England families, and  give ample evidence of his artistic

skill.  Inspired by long  experience in embellishing the articles

manufactured by him,  Revere undertook the art of engraving on copper, with

marked  success.  Books of the 17th and 18th centuries show that  this was

a popular form of illustrating.  Many of Revere's  pictures were political

caricatures and cartoons; and among  the best of his works is an engraving

depicting the Boston  Massacre, which was extensively copied in Europe.  He

also  designed bookplates, and in later years furnished the  engravings

from which Masonic certificates were made. 

The outbreak of the French and Indian Wars in 1756  prompted him to enlist

in the British Colonial service.   Commissioned a second lieutenant of

artillery by Governor  Sterling, he participated in the expedition against

Crown  Point under the command of General John Winslow.  Here he  received

the military training which enabled him to give  excellent service in later

years as major, lieutenant- colonel, and colonel of artillery in the armed

forces of  Massachusetts. 


Upon his return from military service, Revere was  married in 1757 to Miss

Sarah Orne of Boston.  Seven  children were born of this union.  After

sixteen years of  wedded life, the faithful wife died, leaving Revere a 

widower at 38 with a large family on his hands, a business  to look after

and political events engrossing his attention.  To quote Revere, he found

his household "In sore need of a  Mother," and within a short time after

the death of his  first wife and infant child, he married Miss Rachel

Walker,  ten years his junior.  Eight children were added to the six  of

his first marriage. 


The Stamp Act of 1765 was one of the causes of the  American Revolution. 

This act provided for a tax on certain  articles imported by the colonies. 

The imposition of this  tax was not so objectionable in itself to the

colonists as  the fact that they had no voice in the matter.  This right, 

they felt, belonged to them under the Magna Charta, the  foundation of

English Liberty.  The opponents of the act  formed themselves into bands

known as the Sons of Liberty.   Meetings were conducted with great secrecy,

those in Boston  being ultimately held at the Green Dragon tavern.  It is

of  more than passing interest to note that St. Andrew's Lodge,  many of

whose members participated in the stirring events of  the Revolution,

purchased this tavern March 31, 1864. 

Among the Massachusetts leaders of the Sons of Liberty  were Samuel Adams

and John Hancock, to whom Revere attached  himself.  Not gifted with speech

as were his associates, he  nevertheless reached the public through his

clever cartoons  on political events of the day.  He also carried secret 

dispatches to the leaders of the Sons of Liberty in New York  and

Philadelphia; and his unquestioned integrity and  excellent memory served

the Colonists well when written word  could not be safely conveyed. 


In 1766 the Stamp Act was repealed, except as to tea,  and this served to

quiet matters somewhat for a time; but  the determination of King George

III to force the tea tax  upon his colonists made them all the more

determined to  resist the measure.  Cargoes of tea were shipped and landed 

under protest.  Merchants throughout the colonies agreed not  to handle the

commodity, and very little was sold, such as  did trickle into the channels

of trade being handled by Troy  shopkeepers. 


The arrival of the Dartmouth on November 28, 1773,  caused the Sons of

Liberty to call a mass meeting which was  attended by over seven thousand

people.  Resolutions were  passed urging that the tea not be landed, and

that it be  sent back to England in the same ships.  Guards were placed  to

make sure that the tea was not brought in  surreptitiously.  Another

meeting was called on the 30th, at  which the officers of two additional

ships which had arrived  in the meantime were made to promise that they

would leave  the harbor without unloading their tea cargoes.  Governor 

Hutchinson, however, interfered with this solution of the  problem by

forbidding the issuance of clearance papers until  the cargoes should be

discharged.  The rest of the story has  been recorded in history's pages. 

A group of patriots,  disguised as Mohawk Indians, boarded the vessels, and 

destroyed three hundred and forty-two chests of tea valued  at $90,000. 


It has been asserted by many writers that the  Freemasons of the colony had

a large part in the destruction  of the tea cargoes.  Definite information

is not available,  but contemporaneous records of unimpeachable character

lead  us to believe that there is some truth in the assertions.  The

records of Saint Andrew's Lodge, of which Paul Revere  was a member, show

that on the night of November 30th, 1773  - the night for the annual

election of officers - only seven  members were present.  No election was

held, and the  presence of only seven members given as the reason according 

to the entries in the lodge minutes. 


As a result of the Tea Party, laws were passed in  Parliament closing the

port of Boston.  These measures only  served to inflame the people.  Revere

was soon in the saddle  again, carrying messages to enlist the support of

the  southern provinces in behalf of Massachusetts.  The  Massachusetts

House of Representatives reorganized under the  name of the "The Provincial

Congress" and voted to enroll  twelve thousand Minute Men.  Revere made

further trips  south, and in December, 1773, carried news north to 

Portsmouth, N.H., that the importation of military stores  had been

forbidden by Parliament, and that a large garrison  was coming to occupy

Fort William and Mary at the entrance  to the harbor.  The Sons of Liberty

thereupon surprised the  fort and removed upwards of one hundred barrels of

powder  and fifteen cannon. 


Governor Gage of Massachusetts became alarmed at these  aggressive acts of

the colonists.  Outlying stores of  gunpowder and arms were called in, and  

every precaution  taken to guard against further surprises.  The Sons of 

Liberty soon learned that the British were preparing for  action.  On April

18, 1775, Dr. Joseph Warren, Grand Master  of Massachusetts, who was to

give his life for his country  two months later at the battle of Bunker

Hill, learned that  troops were gathering on Boston Common.  Fearing for

the  safety of Samuel Adams and John Hancock, Warren sent for  Revere and

begged him to go to Lexington to warn these men.  Revere had been to

Lexington a few days before, and gravely  doubted the possibility of

getting through the lines in  event the enemy should form, had arranged, by

a show of  lanterns, to indicate the route taken by the British.   Revere

then made the ride which has preserved his name to  posterity, as

graphically told with certain poetic license  by Longfellow. 


Paul Revere's ride, however, was not the end of his  activities in the

patriot cause.  After the British had  vacated Boston, being harassed by

Washington's troops, it  was found that the cannon had been disabled by the

removal  of the carriages.  Revere invented a new type, and the guns  were

again placed in commission. 

 In July, 1776, Revere was commissioned an officer in a  new regiment

raised for the defense of the town and harbor  of Boston.  His important

duties and services ultimately won  him the rank of colonel of artillery. 

Adverse conditions  made his position a difficult one, but he steadfastly 

fulfilled his duties and made the best of a bad situation.   In 1779 he

participated in a expedition against the British  in what is now Maine. 

Through mismanagement on the part of  some military and naval commanders,

the expedition was a  failure, and the soldiers made their way back to

Boston in  scattered groups. 


In addition to his military service, Revere was called  upon in 1775 to

engrave the currency of the Colony of  Massachusetts.  In 1776 he engaged

in the manufacture of  gunpowder, sorely needed by the american Forces, and

was  employed to oversee the casting of cannon. 


The war services of Paul Revere did not conclude his  service to the new

nation.  He contributed to the economic  welfare of his community by

establishing an iron foundry,  and in 1792 began casting church bells, many

of which are  still in existence.  A "Hardware" store - as jeweler's shops 

were called in those days - established by him in 1783,  enabled him to

dispose of the silverware which he continued  to manufacture.  He invented

a process for treating copper  which enabled him to hammer and roll it

while hot, a process  of great value in shipbuilding.  In 1800 he

established a  foundry for rolling copper in large sheets.  This was such 

an important industry that the government of the United  States loaned him

$10,000, to be repaid in the form of sheet  copper.  This was the first

copper rolling mill in the  country, and dispensed with the necessity which

had existed  before of importing this commodity from England.  Robert 

Fulton's steam engines were equipped with copper boilers  made from

Revere's plates.  Revere also covered the bottom  of the Frigate

"Constitution" - better known as "Old  Ironsides" - with sheet copper.  The

business was  incorporated in 1828 as the Revere Copper Company, and is 

still conducted in Canton, Mass. 


Revere's life, and the services he rendered to the  country, are sufficient

in themselves to endear him to every  patriotic American.  Yet, we, as

Masons, can claim a still  closer tie.  Paul Revere was made a Mason in

Saint Andrew's  Lodge on September 4, 1760, being the first Entered 

Apprentice to receive that work in this body.  In 1770 he  became its

Master; in 1783, when St, Andrew's Lodge was  divided on the question of

remaining under the Grand Lodge  of Scotland, from which body it had

received its Charter  dated November 30, 1756; or affiliating with the new

Grand  Lodge of Massachusetts, he was one of the twenty-three who  voted to

withdraw from the old relationship.  A new lodge  was formed in September,

1784, under the name of Rising  States Lodge, and Revere was elected its

Master.  He made  the jewels for this lodge, and engraved and printed 

certificates of membership and notices.  He served as Grand  Master of

Massachusetts from 1795 to 1797, inclusive,  assisting Governor Samuel

Adams in laying the corner stone  of the Massachusetts State House, July 4,

1795, on which  occasion he delivered a stirring address. 


His charities were quiet and unostentatious.  He  founded the Massachusetts

Charitable Mechanics Association  in 1795, and served as its president from

its founding until  1799, when de declined any further office, although 

continuing his interest. 


His domestic life was peaceable and happy.  The decease  of his second wife

in 1815 left him a lonely old man.   Revere himself "Passed Out With the

Tide" on May 10, 1818,  and was buried in Granary Burial Ground where his

old  friends, Hancock and Adams, had preceded him. 


Quiet, unassuming, without great gifts as an orator or  statesman, he

nevertheless engraved his name on that which  is far more enduring than the

metals of his Craft - the  pages of his country's history and the hearts of

his  country's citizens.  Behind him was the martyrdom of his  Huguenot

ancestors; around him was the inspiration of  Freemasonry's ideals; within

his vision of the future was a  great representative government of a free

people wherein  religious liberty should be both a fundamental principle

and  an inalienable right.  And so he served with the talent that  he had

in the humbler spheres of everyday life as well as in  the greater and more

spectacular crisis in the life of his  commonwealth.  Unselfish service was

his ambition and his  watchword, his biography and his epitaph. 

Freemasonry and  America honor most the Paul reveres of the nation, who

from  day to day, in every time of history and walk of life,  thoughtfully

and patriotically serve mankind. 

If, however, we are to come to the fullest possible  realization of what

the life of a man like Paul Revere means  to his country and to his

Fraternity, we must go further  than a mere personal estimate.  No matter

how effective his  life may be in arousing our pride and stimulating our 

efforts, we must still take one more step.  It will not do  merely to judge

a life like his according to the standards  of this day.  We must realize

the results of his work in the  light of the conditions which he faced. 


I wonder if we can visualize the Colonial period of  this country's

history?  The scattered settlements, the log  cabins grouped about

stockades out in the wilderness, the  wide distances separating the towns

and villages, and the  uninhabited, waste districts between; the bridle

paths over  the mountains, the narrow. almost impassable roads with the 

lumbering stage coaches passing up and down at irregular and  infrequent

intervals; a time when it cost a shilling and  more to carry a letter; a

country without telegraph, without  typewriter, without railroad - and a

people who could not  even dream of such things as these. 


Even so the picture is not complete.  We must picture a  country possessed

of very few schools, and what schools that  were open, were open only to

the sons of the rich.   Intelligence and idealism were impossible for the

poor boy,  except as he learned them at the family altar.  The minds of 

the common people were on the same low, deadly level which  prevailed among

the lower classes of Europe.  Under such  circumstances can we not see how

the superior mind would  revolt against these sordid conditions?  First

would come  the passion for liberty, and following that, an intense 

determination that these conditions must be bettered. 


Then we are able to recreate the influence of the  ancestry of a man like

Revere?  Many a long evening was  spent around an open fireplace, with

perhaps a tallow dip  candle or two burning dimly on the mantle, while the

head   of the household told of the tragedy of his flight from the 

persecutions inflicted upon his people.  What would the  effect of such a

recital be upon a youth like Paul Revere?   Can we realize how these

traditions would influence his  mind, how his boyish imagination would be

kindled and how  his appreciation of the liberty which the Colonists were 

trying to work out for themselves in the new world would  grow into a

veritable passion for freedom?  As he grew older  he would see the stalwart

pioneers around him trying to  plant here a  new type of civilization, an

institution which  would insure to every man the utmost of personal liberty 

which he could expect without infringing upon the rights of  others.  Can

we not see how a youth raised in this  atmosphere would be inspired with a

desire to promote and  further the development of these institutions?  With

stories  of murder and oppression of his people firing his youthful 

imagination, can we not see that as he grew into manhood his  mind would be

quickened?  Can we not understand how any  example of oppression, however

slight, would arouse the  fighting instincts, and tyrannical injustice

become as it  were a baptism of patriotism, dedicated to the new home 

which his troubled soul was finding in company with his  fellow refugees? 


We must also realize that an atmosphere very like this  existed all through

the colonies.  It was justified, my  brothers; these hardy pioneers had

fled the Old World where  free thought, free speech and free Conscience did

not exist.  They had come away with hideous memories of their friends  and

neighbors tortured and hung for the most trivial crimes.  Years of tragedy

had taught them the sacrifices that men  make who stand up for what they

believe, for opinion's sake.  


It is only when we come to appreciate all of this  background that we can

understand the fierce resentment in  the hearts of the colonial leaders

when tea profiteers  sought to impose their burdens of taxation, or

religious  bigots tried to fasten upon the minds of the people narrow 

ideas the trend of which would be to bring about a union of  Church and

State.  We must picture Paul Revere as one of the  central figures in a

great drama like this, staged in a  wilderness, with enemies both within

and without; if we  could appreciate what the service of the colonial

pioneer  really was.  To us in our modern day the accomplishment of  these

fearless men may not loom so large, but in their day  and time they

performed wonders when they gave their passion  for liberty and brotherhood

free reign and started in to  establish a government by, for and of the



Well may we ask, how could they do it?  What gave them  their breadth of

vision?  And it is in this primitive  setting that we find the answer.  The

forces of necessity  drove them, persecution was behind them and if they

did not  build their new Temple of Liberty aright, persecution and  failure

lay before them.  In the face of a need like this,  they won; they

accomplished great things for humanity.  They  planted the seeds of

brotherhood in the fallow ground of a  new homeland and we, who are their

posterity are reaping the  reward. 

This it is which places upon us the responsibility for  doing in our day

what they did in theirs.  The conditions  which we have to meet are

different from theirs.  The  problems which we have to solve under the

complex conditions  of modern civilization would look hopeless to them.  My 

Brethren, they would be hopeless to us did we not have their  examples

before us and were we not familiar with the  principles which they applied

to their problems in those  tempestuous days.  We have the same principle,

we have the  same Masonic atmosphere of brotherhood and we have an even 

greater opportunity than they had to put these principles  into practice

and make them live among men today.  Ours is  the task to maintain the

freedom of speech and conscience  which they established for us and to see

to it that  Freemasonry, grown now to a fraternity of men far greater in 

number than all the people who lived in the thirteen  colonies, shall stand

foursquare for law and order, for the  right to think and worship as we

please, and for the  perpetuation of those priceless privileges which the

Paul  Reveres of early America wrought out of their needs and the 

conditions which faced them, because they had the Masonic  vision, the

Masonic fervency and the Masonic zeal to build  after the Masonic pattern.