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Charles Townshend, John Hancock, and the Boston Madeira Party

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With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Wednesday, September 05, 2018

On June 10, 1768, the King's Commissioners of Customs seized John Hancock's sloop Liberty and its smuggled cargo of Madeira wine. Already agitated by the imposition of the hated Townshend Duties, Bostonians took to the streets. William Fowler, Jr., Distinguished Professor of History, Northeastern University, describes how the Commissioners, fearing for their lives, fled to the safety of Castle William, while John Adams argued his case in defense of Hancock and Liberty at the Old State House. One of four lectures in the series "Lead, Glass, Paper, Tea: The Townshend Acts, Colonial Unrest, and the Occupation of Boston, 1768." Part of the Lowell Lecture Series presented by the Paul Revere Memorial Association at Old South Meeting House.

**William M. Fowler, Jr.** is a Distinguished Professor of History at Northeastern University. He is the former president of the Alumni Association and former overseer on the board of trustees. In 2000, he received an honorary degree in Humane Letters from the University. In 1998, the Massachusetts Historical Society appointed Bill as its director. In this role, he oversaw holdings encompassing millions of rare and unique documents, including several imprints of the Declaration of Independence and the Adams family papers. He held that post until 2005 when he resumed teaching at Northeastern. In addition to teaching at Northeastern, Bill is the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati George Washington Distinguished Professor. He is also the author of a number of books focusing on American history including: \_Under Two Flags: The Navy in the Civil War\_; \_Silas Talbot Captain of the Old Ironsides\_; co-author \_America and The Sea\_; \_William Ellery: A Rhode Island Politico and Lord of Admiralty\_; \_Rebels Under Sail: The Navy in the Revolution\_; J\_ack Tars and Commodores: The American Navy, 1783-1815\_; \_Samuel Adams: Radical Puritan\_; and \_Empires at War: The French and Indian War and The Struggle for North America, 1754-1763.\_ Photo: [Northeastern University](https://www.northeastern.edu/voices/fowler/bio.html "Northeastern University")