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That it was the foundation of the economic structure of New England has already been considered in some detail. The old Molasses Act of 1733 and the new Molasses Act of 1763 served to crystallize the economic importance of the rum trade in the minds of the people. Woodrow Wilson summarized this phase of the colonial rum problem when he wrote of the Molasses Act, "To enforce the Act would have been to hazard the utter commercial ruin of New England. Out of cheap molasses of the French Islands, she made the rum which was the chief source of her wealth-the rum with which she bought slaves for Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, and paid her balances to the English merchants."

The social and political aspect of rum and the Rebellion was to be found in the licensed houses and taverns, for it was in those places of conviviality, carousing and caressing, that our republic was conceived. Whatever glory and sanctity we may claim for the great American commonwealth, we must eschew the doctrine of immaculate conception.

John Adams, who loathed the taverns, attests, with many misgivings, to their potency in shaping opinion during the years immediately preceding the Revolution. Shortly before the meeting of Congress in 1774, Adams was making a journey to some of the circuit courts in Massachusetts. He stopped one night at a tavern in

Shrewsbury, about forty miles from Boston. He was cold and wet, and sat down before a cheerful fire in the barroom to dry his great coat and saddle bags, until a fire could be made in his chamber. There presently came in, one after another, about ten substantial yeomen of the neighborhood, who, sitting down to the fire after lighting their pipes, began a lively conversation upon politics. Adams was unknown to them and sat in total silence listening to their conversation. One said, "The people of Boston are distracted." Another commented, "No wonder the people of Boston are distracted. Oppression will make wise men mad." A third said, "What would you say if a fellow should come into your house and tell you he was come to take a list of your cattle, that Parliament might tax you for them at so much a head? And how would you feel if he were to go and break open your barn, to take down your oxen, cows, horses and sheep? What should you say?" Replied the first, "I would knock him in the head!" "Well," said a fourth, "if Parliament can take away Mr. Hancock's wharf and Mr. Rowe's wharf, they can take away your barn and my house." After much more spirited reasoning, a fifth, who had yet been silent, broke out, "Well it is high time for us to rebel; we must rebel some time or other, and we had better rebel now than at any time to come. If we put it off for ten or twenty years, and let them go on as they have begun, they will get a strong

party among us, and plague us a great deal more than they can now. As yet, they have but a small party on their side." Brave words in 1774-and much logic! Evidently primed with flip and toddy.

Rum may have had its use to lash the lagging spirit into an outburst of patriotic oratory, but it also could be used for the more sordid and familiar political purposes. There were votes in the hiss of the loggerhead. Says Adams, "An artful man, who has neither sense nor sentiment may by gaining a little sway among the rabble of a town, multiply taverns and dram shops, and thereby secure the votes of taverners and retailers and of all; and the multiplication of taverns will make many who may be induced by flip and rum to vote for any man whatever. . . . Several country towns, within my observations, have at least a dozen taverns and retailers. Here the time, the money, the health, and the modesty of most that are young and of many old, are wasted; here diseases, vicious habits, bastards and legislators are frequently begotten.

. . The number of these houses has been lately so much augmented and the fortunes of their owners so much increased, that an artful man has little else to do but secure the favor of taverners, in order to secure the suffrage of the rabble that attend these houses, which in many towns makes a very large, perhaps the largest number of votes."

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