Sons of Liberty

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 7 03:37:15 UTC 2012

Joel: Thanks for sharing your great research. Beautiful 1738 cite.

Joel S. Berson wrote
> The phrase "sons of liberty" appeared in:
> 1738, in a general discourse on the liberties due Americans as Englishmen;
> 1764 November (before Barre's speech), in
> discussing a proposed act of Parliament
> preventing the northern colonies from exporting fish except to England;
> 1765 May, reporting Barré's speech to Parliament;
> 1765 July, in a letter about a suit for damages;
> 1765 Aug. 12, as a reference to the freemen of
> Providence assembled in a town meeting;
> (several more times in 1765, to
> 1765 Nov 4, perhaps the earliest instance that
> refers to an organized group of some Bostonians.
> Thus the phrase was current in the colonies
> before Barre's speech.  Whether that was the
> source for the organization Sons of Liberty or
> Barre's speech re-ignited the phrase; and whether
> Barre had picked it up in America or reinvented it, I do not know.

The American Dialect Society -

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