Colonial Corruption: The Failed Reform of His Majesty’s Customs in America in the 1760s

Daniel Cornette

Book of Records

Throughout the 1760s, the administration of His Majesty King George III’s Customs in America generated copious records related to the official business of collecting duties and enforcing the Navigation Acts.  Most of these records reveal the daily operations of the local customs offices, recording the arrival and departure of ships and the importation of goods.  While most of these records no longer exist in the United States, one notable exception is the Salem Custom House letter book from 1763 to 1772 which is now part of the collection of the Phillips Library.  This letter book, which contains a record of all official incoming and outgoing correspondence, provides invaluable insight into the day-to-day operations as well as a glimpse into the turmoil resulting from failed efforts to reform the customs administration during the ten-year period starting in 1763. Read more

Patriot’s Day, Then and Now

Cover Page

Cover page for the "Celebration of the First Battle of the Revolution" program

While not a national holiday in the United States, Patriot’s Day is a day of great import in Massachusetts, the state of its inception.  An official state holiday since 1894, Patriot’s Day commemorates the seminal Revolutionary War Battle of Lexington and Concord fought on April 19, 1775, and the Civil War Riot in Baltimore of April 19, 1861. Read more