Where was the Tree of Liberty? One block east of Boylston Station (Green Line) and Boston Common, at Washington and Essex Streets, is the site of the famous Liberty Tree. Embedded in the wall of the building located at 630 Washington Street is a tablet marking the spot of the historic landmark, bearing the inscription “Sons of Liberty, 1766.”
What is the Tree of Liberty? At the time of the revolution, a great elm tree stood in front of a grocery store here. It had wide spreading beautiful branches, and for many years was the center of business in Boston’s original South End. Several large elms grew nearby, and this area was known as the Neighborhood of Elms.
On August 14, 1765, this particular tree was selected for hanging the effigies of those men who favored passage of the detested Stamp Act. On September 11th, a 3.5′ by 2.5′ copper plate, with large golden letters, was placed on its trunk bearing the inscription The Tree of Liberty. There after, nearly all the great political meetings of the Sons of Liberty, were held in this square. It is believed the early dissenters of British rule, or Sons Of Liberty, had also adorned this tree with lanterns to symbolize unity.
Thomas Jefferson stated it plainly in a letter to William Smith regarding Shay’s Rebellion: “god forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion . . . the tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it’s natural manure.”
The British made the Liberty Tree an object of ridicule. British soldiers tarred and feathered a man named Ditson, and forced him to march in front of the tree. During the siege of Boston, about the last day of August 1775, a party of Loyalists led by Job Williams, defiantly cut it down.
The Liberty Tree was planted in 1646 and stood for 129 years. Quoting the Pemberton Manuscripts of 200 years ago, at this spot had been “born the first fruits of Liberty in America.”
For many years the remnant of the tree was used as a reference point by local citizens, similarly to the Boston Stone, and became known as the Liberty Stump.
There is also a bronze artwork commemorating the Liberty Tree embedded in the side walk on the south side of Boylston Street. The tragic Paramount Hotel gas explosion took place at this location in 1966.
“Armed with axes,” the Essex Gazette reported, “the British soldiers made a furious attack upon it. After a long spell of laughing and grinning, sweating, swearing, and foaming with malice diabolical, they [British soldiers] cut down a tree because it bore the name of Liberty.”
What is the history of the Tree of Liberty? Here is a link to Wiki.
– Here is a link to the historical marker location, the tree was actually inside Boston, MA.
Here is an article from the website Celebrate Boston:
Patriots met at the Liberty Tree in Boston during the late 1760s. The tree got its nickname from an act of rebellion that occurred on August 14, 1765. On September 11 of that year, a plaque was placed on the elm tree commemorating the event with the words The Tree of Liberty.
The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament on March 22, 1765, and went into effect on November 1. Taxes were levied on all documents—from real estate paperwork to even a deck of cards.
Great Britain had just fought an expensive war with France—known as the French and Indian War in the American Colonies—and new taxes were needed to pay down the national debt. Americans generally considered the tax illegal, and Taxation Without Representation in government.
On August 14, 1765, an effigy of the Stamp-Master was hung in a tree in Boston’s South End (at today’s Boylston & Essex Streets). A boot, with its sole painted green and a small devil inside, was also placed in the tree. The boot symbolically rebuked John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, and Stephen Grenville, the Primer Ministers of England from 1762 to 1765.
That day, crowds were led to the tree and their goods were mockingly stamped in defiance of the new law. Anyone that attempted to remove the effigies were threatened by the crowd. That night, the effigies were cut down and a fake funeral procession took place to the Town House, and then proceeded to the tax collector’s house. The effigies were burned in a funeral pyre, with part of the collector’s carriage house and furniture tossed into the fire. The tax collector resigned in fear of his life, and it has been reported that he was escorted through the streets of the town and forced to resign in public under the Tree of Liberty.
After this act of rebellion, the large elm was known as the Tree of Liberty. The August 19, 1765 Boston Gazette describes the event:
“Early on Wednesday Morning last, the Effigy of a Gentleman sustaining a very unpopular Office, viz, that of Stamp-Master, was found (to the great Joy of the People) hanging on a Tree in the most public part of the Town, together with a Boot, wherein was concealed a young Imp of the Devil, represented as peeping out of the Top. — On the Breast of the Effigy was a Label, containing these Lines, in large characters:
Fair Freedom’s glorious Cause I meanly quitted,
Betrayed my Country for the sake of pelf [money];
But ah! At length, the De[vi]l has me outwitted,
Instead of stamping others, I’ve hang’d myself.
Underneath was the following words, HE THAT TAKES THIS DOWN IS AN ENEMY TO HIS COUNTRY. — On the right Arm were the initial Letters of the Stampman’s Name, (A.O.) and on the left, these Lines:
What greater Joy can NEW-ENGLAND see,
Than STAMPMEN hanging on a Tree! —
this great early colonial language article is here:
-Pillars of Freedom and Liberty:
- Good and Stateful preaching..
- Appeal to God..
- Civil government..
- Justice equal for all..
Our Founding Fathers weren’t afraid or ashamed to use explicitly Christian words like Providence, Supreme Being, Almighty, or Creator. Yes, they were appealing to heaven, but most importantly, they were appealing to the Triune God.
Our founding fathers trusted in the hand of God and they knew that their Christian religion could not be separated from liberty. And they acknowledged that their rights and liberties could come from none other than a Sovereign Creator. Therefore, when the King of England broke covenant with the colonies, they had no other option than to seek an authority higher than the King — they appealed to God.