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Week 2: James Rivington/Myth, Mystery & Fact

by: Kylie Kreischer

Week 2: James Rivington/Myth, Mystery & Fact JMC:1200:0AAA

Marketplace > University of Iowa > Journalism and Mass Communications > JMC:1200:0AAA > Week 2 James Rivington Myth Mystery Fact
Kylie Kreischer
GPA 3.96
Media History and Culture
Frank Durham

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Week 2 Reading: The Remarkable Mystery of James Rivington, “Spy” & The Tory and the Spy Lecture 2: How We Make Historical Sense of Myth, Mystery, and Fact Week 2 Wiki Reading
Media History and Culture
Frank Durham
Class Notes
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kylie Kreischer on Sunday March 8, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to JMC:1200:0AAA at University of Iowa taught by Frank Durham in Spring2015. Since its upload, it has received 77 views. For similar materials see Media History and Culture in Journalism and Mass Communications at University of Iowa.

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Date Created: 03/08/15
Week 2 Readings The Remarkable Mystery of James Rivington Spy amp The Tory and the Spy The Remarkable Mystery 0f James Rivmgton Spy LegendMyth o Tory editor 0 Turned coat after Yorktown and furnished Washington with British secrets in order to remain in America after the peace and enjoy the liberties he had fought so hard to suppress 0 Congress then ordered Rivington to be left alone but could stay in New York 0 Many did not understand how the most obnoxious man was allowed to stay 0 Was not bothered by the government The Spy 0 In Thomas History of Printing it is said that Rivington sent out things that he knew would be interesting to the commanders of the American Army and then seemed to be protected from punishments for personally abusing people 0 Said to have sentAmerican s information in the bindings of the books 0 Not convicted of treason 0 Didn t have his belongings taken away Act of the Attainder 0 Many were convicted of adhering to the enemy o No evidence that Rivington was ever convicted Summary 0 No evidence that he actually was a spy o Tory was the spy all along 0 No way he would have gotten special treatment from Washington as he was a plague to him 0 He was merely the Printer to the King Tory and the Spy Rivington thought to have been a spy secretly 0 Thought to have started around 1776 Robert Morris also then borrowed 500 guineas of gold for the secret service to pay him 0 Washington proposed a visit with Rivington in 1783 after the British evacua on Officers heard chinking of gold coins in their meeting Provided retirement in MountVernon o Allowed to stay in New York after the Peace of 1783 Based on fear that patriot leaders thought if he was pressed with questions he might reveal secrets involving important people 0 Washington s agents picked up books from Rivington butwere ignorant of their messages Lecture 2 How We Make Historical Sense of Myth Mystery and Fact Outline Timeline narrative Historiography A method of validating facts 0 Empiricism philosophical basis 0 Method 0 Types of evidence Chasing the mouth Lawson amp Crary 0 Secondary sources in common 0 Primary sources Trajectory chart Key Words Primary evidence Secondary evidence Historiography How is historiography used by historians to write and understand history Who Was James Rivington Came to American open a bookstore and coffee shop in Hanover Square NY 0 Financed by the spy Robert Townsend Newspaper published the King s Printer royalist An opportunist printed pamphlets for both sides early in the war switched sides in 1783 Thorn in Washington s side antiWashington propagandist through pamphlets and falsely signed letters 0 Apologized to Washington in 1783 in a 1783 letter A spy in 1781 Died on July 4 1802 o Obituaries do not mention the word spy The Myth Spied for Washington 1776 Two heavy purses of goldquot Naval movements overheard at the coffee shop Codes sent in books Myth repeated through secondary histories Lawson amp Crary investigated the facts Timeline 1760 Rivington opens bookstore in NY 1773 Rivington s New York Gazetteer begins 1774 Rivington s New York Gazetteer turns Tory British publication 0 Carried the royal seal 1775 Gazetteer incites a boycot Rivington hanged in effigy created a dummy that was hanged symbolic by Isaac Sears and the Sons of Liberty who later destroyed his press 1775 The war begins at Lexington amp Concorde Rivington s press was destroyed by the Sons of Liberty 1777 Rivington resumed printing Rivington s New York Gazette as Printer to his Majesty 1779 The Act of Attainder just 59 affected 1781 Riving spies for McLane amp Washington 1783 Myth alleged meeting with Washington 1783 Nov 25 British left New York war ended 1783 Dec 31 Rivington retires 1783 Other Loyalist editors allowed to stay 0 Morton amp Norner of New York Evening Post 0 Freedom of Press is the likely reasoning for them being allowed to stay 0 ProBritish editors were not tarred feathered ham stringed or exiled Historiography Empiricism basis of historiography o Rational approach to history not a myth o Often assumes an objective truth The research method depends on o Triangulation comparison 0 Verification of authenticity Types of evidences sources Primary newspapers diaries letters memoirs public records autobiographies Secondary documented histories biographies Lawson Gets Close Rivington s name is found in a code dictionary decided for the use of spies in 1779 but the number given to spies never shows up in correspondence A few letters from spies quote Rivington s name but the information is not confirmed Close but cannot confirm he was a spy based on evidence Crary Takes on the Myth with Evidence The opportunity for Rivington to spy Connections at the press and coffee house 0 Motive problems 0 Information to get from British officers AND confirming evidence McLane s diary Crary determined what happened Because of her reliable and valid use of 0 Secondary evidence in support of contact 0 Primary evidence especially the dually of McLane and the second supporting document 0 The code signals of the British fleet o Announces it was Rivington who provided McLane with the information he was sent to obtain 0 Crary was Rivington s spying limited to 1781 What do we know That Rivington spied for Washington through McLane What don t we know Why Rivington spied for Washington When he spied for Washington Any more about the nature of Rivington s relationship to Washington Week 2 Wiki Reading Colonial Press Part amp The Stamp Act ProtestsThomas Hutchinson Recounts the Mob Reaction to the Stamp Act in Boston 1765 Distributer of stamps for the colony of Connecticut came to Boston 0 Accompanied by Mr Oliver Stuffed image hung from a tree that was thought to be the distributor of stamps 0 Taken down laid flat on the ground by the stamp office 0 Mob proceeded to For Hill 0 Broke into Mr Oliver s house broke windows and furniture 0 Continued to riot Council said the stamp act would never go away Mr Oliver resigned out of fear for him and his family Next evening the mob surrounded the house of the lieutenant governor and chief justice Hutchnson o Demanded he deny arguing in favor of the stamp act 0 He refused Days later the mob went back to his house 0 Came drunk 0 Axed down the door 0 His family left the house John Holt s Account of the Stamp Act Riots in New York 1765 2000 people attended the Coffee House Culprits apologies weren t enough Sons of Liberty used their influence to moderate the Resentment of the People Governor said that if the stamps were delivered to him they would not be used People didn t agree to that and wanted the stamps burned Broke into Williams house and destroyed furniture John Holt had heard about the seizure ahead of time and warned the collector but the collector didn t listen Collector stopped by a mob o Threatened to shoot him 0 Pelted him with stones glass bottles etc Lt Gov William Bull Charleston South Carolina to the Board of Trade November 3 1765 Groups of men assembled on arrival of stamp papers Writer was in change of protecting the papers Suggested having the boat of stamps be armed Strike on the stamp officer s homes No stamps can be issues so a stop to all businesses was put into place


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