HMS St John (1764)
Rhode Islanders were violently opposed to the passage of the Sugar Act in 1764, because the colony's main industry was producing rum from molasses. To collect the tax the British sent several ships to New England including HMS Squirrel.
In 1764 crew members on another British ship, HMS St John had allegedly stolen goods from Newport merchants. Therefore, a group of Rhode Islanders took control of Fort George on Goat Island in Newport harbor and fired cannon shots at the British ship. The shots were one of the first open acts of rebellion against the British government in America.
The Rhode Islanders were acting under orders from local officials, but dispersed before HMS Squirrel, a twenty-gun ship, arrived at the scene. St. John successfully fled the harbor.
- Golway, Terry (2005). Washington's General: Nathanael Greene and the triumph of the American Revolution. Macmillan. p. 25.
- "Colonists Respond to the Sugar Act & Currency Act of 1764" (PDF). National Humanities Center. 2011.
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