The Outdoors Blog

Who Burned the HMS Gaspee?

August 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phin Upham

During the Seven Years War, the British customs service in the North American colonies used particularly violent means to get what it wanted. Britain didn’t do a lot to resolve these issues, mostly because it was at war for much of this period, and it didn’t deem the risk to its colonies strategic enough to pursue any deeper.

After the War, Britain seemed to make problems worse by purchase several schooners that would be in charge of collecting taxes and fees from the American colonists. The Seven Years War had put a major dent in the British economy, and the country was looking to recoup its losses. It turned its efforts on the New World, which was supposed to be a profitable trade avenue.

One of the vessels policing the colonies was the HMS Gaspee, captained by Lieutenant William Dudingston. In 1772, the boat was on its way to Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. It was there that Dudingston would meet Joseph Bucklin, a restaurant owner in Rhode Island.

Unbeknownst to Dudingston and crew, the destruction of the HMS Gaspee was most likely plotted either at that restaurant or at Bucklin’s home, located a few blocks away.

It was dawn of June 10th in 1772 when Bucklin and his men boarded the Gaspee. They took Dudingston’s crew by surprise, and Dudingston himself was wounded during the conflict. Bucklin had fired the single shot of the conflict, as Dudingston’s crew had put up only feeble resistance.

The ship was sacked and burned, which would not go unpunished by the British. The attackers were declared treasonous, and were to stand trial in England. In the end, the British decided they did not have the resources to try and case and instead decided to levy taxes on the colonists.

Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.

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