Maine will be awash next week in events commemorating the battle between the HMS Boxer and the USS Enterprise 200 years ago off Pemaquid PoInt during the War of 1812. The 30-minute battle cost the captains of both ships their lives. When the smoke cleared, Enterprise had won, giving the US something to cheer about. The battle also provided the US with a ship that it auctioned to help pay for the increasingly expensive war. On the British side, several sailors were court martialed for abandoning their posts during the fighting. All in all, the skirmish was much more significant to America than Britain, as each victory during the war helped bolster America’s self-image. To the Brits the war was mainly a distraction as they were romping around Europe trying to put paid to Napoleon’s ambitions. Maine Historical Society has a great roundup of events planned for the week.
What were the English cousins of America’s earliest settlers up to while our forebears were scratching out the towns that became New England? Pretty much the same things as here: debating the role of the monarchy, religious freedom, etc. One angle of that story is neatly told in a new book, The Rainborowes: Pirates Puritans and a Family’s Quest for the Promised Land, about the singular Rainborowes. This radical family helped stir up arguments on both sides of the Atlantic, both in Boston and England in the mid 1600s.
New England Historical Society will take a holiday from publishing on Monday, Sept. 2. We’ll be enjoying lobster on Cape Cod. We hope you have an equally enjoyable Labor Day.
Today’s Flashback Photo is a 1905 advertisement for the Gillette Safety Razor. Hopefully on September 12th when the Patriots kick off their home opener at Gillette Stadium, we’ll all be smiling just as happily as this little guy.