Monday, January 21, 2013

Worcester, January 22, 1778

   On January 22, 1778, Worcester, Massachusetts newspaper The Massachusetts Spy Or, American Oracle of Liberty reported, "The British prisoners stationed near Boston, have lately behaved more imperious and insulting than usual, taking great advantage of the lenity shewn them by our people.  Many of them have taken up the honourable employment of high way robbing, picking pockets, &c."
   The Massachusetts Spy editorialized that personnel from British General John Burgoyne's army, captured at Saratoga, appeared to have "taken large draughts of Lethe, for the commanders have taken to dancing, and the privates to robbing and deserting, the former forgetting their men, and the latter their officers; and the whole forgetting they are prisoners."
   The mistreatment of American prisoners in British custody in occupied New York City left Americans touchy about indulgences granted to British prisoners and any appearance of ingratitude from them.  For access to the database Early American Newspapers, Series I, apply for a membership with the Philadelphia Free Library.  
 
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