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Warren’s Oration

Joseph Warren, American PatriotFrom Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

March 6. –This day 1 the old South Meeting-house in Boston was crowded with nobility and some gentlemen. The selectmen with Adams, Church, Hancock, Cooper, and others, assembled in the pulpit, which was covered with black, and we all sat gaping at one another above an hour expecting! At last a single horse chair stopped at the apothecary’s opposite the meeting, from which descended the orator of the day, (Warren,) and entering the shop, was followed by a servant, with a bundle, in which were the Ciceronian Toga, &c. Having robed himself, he proceeded across the street to the meeting, and being received into the pulpit, was announced by one of his fraternity to be the person appointed to declaim on the occasion. He then, putting himself into a Demosthenian posture, with a white handkerchief in his right hand, and his left in his breeches, began and ended without action. He was applauded by the mob, but groaned at by the people of understanding. One of the pulpiteers (Adams) then got up, and proposed the nomination of another to speak next year, on the Bloody Massacre, (the first time that expression was mentioned to the audience,) when some officers cried, Oh fie, fie, fie! The gallerians apprehending fire, fire, bounced out of the windows, and swarmed down the gutters, like rats, into the street. The forty-third regiment returning accidentally from exercise, with drums beating, threw the whole body into the utmost consternation. There were neither pageantry, exhibitions, processions, or bells tolling as usual, and to-night is remarked for being the quietest these many months past. 2


1 The anniversary of the Boston Massacre occurring this year on Sunday, the commemoration of it was postponed until the next day, the 6th.

2 “A Spectator,” in Rivington’s Gazette, March 16.

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