Peace and Protest

September 24, 2010
By Anonymous

Nervous, stuttered breaths were the only perceptible noises in Faneuil Hall. Aside from those, however, the piercing silence cut through the meeting hall like a sharp knife. The tension and anxiety could be tasted by everyone in the room; it was so overpowering. It was March of 1765. The relations between us and the British were strained more than ever, and every colonist in Boston was battling nerves. A jumble of fury and shock had taken over ever since the British had affirmed their power by placing outrageous taxes on anything printed.

The only reason why I was a witness to this debate was because my father, a respected man in Boston, belonged to the committee discussing the despicable new taxes. As for me, I just wanted the Stamp Act to be over with so I could purchase a set of playing cards. Yes, even they came with a tax now. Father had been opposed to me buying them ever since the Stamp Act had been formed, saying, “In a short time, you may be able to get them for a cheaper, less obscene price.” Twice he had told me that, and I was growing impatient.

Suddenly, a very old and irritated man who sat next to me stood up from the seat he had been planted in and clenched his fist. “Sitting and saying nothing never removed any taxes from anything,” he asserted. Across the room, another man who I recognized as Thomas Adams stood up and faced the old man from across the table.

“This is not about how many or how little words we say, but about the logic in what we say,” Adams said.

After a few harsh comments fired back and forth, I could tell that an argument was brewing. The elderly man’s face grew bright red. Suddenly, he slammed his fist down on the table, causing it to shake wildly. I immediately grew uneasy, and my hands became clammy. A tight knot formed in my stomach. An argument did start, and I had no desire to hear it. I crept out the meeting hall while Father’s head was turned away and headed down to the first floor. Soon, I was out the door and standing in front of Faneuil Hall. A slight gust of chilly wind immediately hit me in the face. It was Boston in the spring summed up into one lovely aroma. The brick building loomed over me as I slowly strolled away from it. Stopping and turning around, I gazed at the very top of Faneuil Hall. There, the copper grasshopper weathervane spun ever so slowly.

Seeing the grasshopper with its bulging eyes and spindly legs made me feel relieved. There was a sense of humor and buoyancy about it, something very different from the pounding of fists and the selfishness of the British. For a moment, I knew that there were at least five good things in the world for every bad thing, and I was thankful.

Built in 1742, Faneuil Hall takes on the role of being both a meeting hall and a marketplace. The “Cradle of Liberty,” as we have called it, has witnessed meetings and debates on historical events such as the Stamp Act, Sugar Act, and Townshend Act in the 1700s. A statue of Samuel Adams, who frequently spoke there, stands in front of Faneuil Hall. After the Boston Massacre, a funeral for the people who were killed took place at the celebrated landmark. Though Faneuil Hall burned down in 1761, it was rebuilt in 1763. Today, the third floor of Faneuil Hall is the headquarters of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. The meeting hall is located on the second floor, and numerous shops are on the first floor. Atop Faneuil Hall, a copper grasshopper weathervane sits. Nowadays, Faneuil Hall makes up a part of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, a popular shopping destination in Boston. Indeed, Faneuil Hall’s role in United States history will forever be remembered.

The author's comments:
This is a historical fiction piece that takes place during the Stamp Act in 1765.

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