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Benjamin Edes - A Klos Family Project - Revolutionary War General
journalist, born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, 14 October 1732; died in Boston,
11 December 1803. His great-grandfather John came from England to Charlestown,
Massachusetts, about 1674. Benjamin was educated in the public schools of
Charlestown, and in 1755 he became, with John Gill, editor and proprietor of "
The Boston Gazette and Country Journal," a patriotic sheet that exerted
a powerful influence just before the Revolution and during that struggle. In its
columns first appeared John Adams's "
Novanglus " letters, and Quincy, Warren, and other patriots were among
its contributors. Mr. Edes, as one of the "Sons of liberty," took an
active part in the politics of his time, and was a caustic writer on the
political questions of the day. In his house the patriots comprising the "Boston
tea party" assembled on the afternoon of 16 December 1773, and
drank punch from a bowl that was subsequently given by Mr. Edes's family to the
Massachusetts historical society, afterward disguising themselves as Indians in
the "Gazette" office.
During the siege of Boston, Mr. Edes escaped to Watertown, where he continued
the publication of the "Gazette." After forty-three years of
editorship he discontinued it in 1798. Andrew Oliver, writing to England in
1768, says, referring to the "Gazette ":"The
temper of the people may be surely learned from that infamous paper";
while Governor Bernard, in one of his letters to the Earl of Hillsborough,
advised the arrest of both Edes and Gill as publishers of sedition. At the
beginning of the war Mr. Edes possessed a comfortable fortune, but afterward
lost it by the depreciation of the currency.
His son, Peter Edes, born in
Boston, 17 December 1756; died in Bangor, Maine, 30 March 1840, was educated at
the Boston Latin school. Two days after the battle of Bunker Hill, when in his
nineteenth year, he was arrested by General Gage on
the charge of "having firearms concealed in his house," and
confined in Boston jail one hundred and seven days, in the same room with "
Master" James Lovell of the Latin school and "Master"
John Leach. Mr. Edes was afterward in business in Boston, and Newport, R. I.,
but removed in 1796 to Augusta, Maine, where in 1797 he published the "Kennebeck
Intelligencer." He afterward lived in Hallowell, Maine, and finally
settled in Bangor, Maine, where he died. He published an edition of the
"Fifth of March Orations," with a preface addressed to the people of
Boston (1785), and an oration on Washington (Hallowell, Maine, 1800). His
journal, kept during his imprisonment, containing a list of the prisoners taken
at Bunker Hill, was published by one of his
descendants (Bangor, Maine, 1837). An interesting letter from Mr. Edes to his
grandson about the "Boston Tea Party"
appears in the "Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical
Society" (December 1871).
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