July 23 - 1846: Thoreau spends the night in jail

1856: Disastrous gale destroys twenty-nine vessels including a Provincetown Brig
On this day in 1846, Henry David Thoreau spent the night in jail for refusing to pay his poll tax.

1846: Thoreau spends night in jail for not paying tax

Sprung after anonymous benefactor pays his fine

On the day in 1846, Henry David Thoreau left his cabin at Walden Pond for a brief walk into town and ended up in the Concord jail for refusing to pay his poll tax.

A fervent abolitionist, Thoreau explained, "I cannot for an instant recognize . . . as my government [that] which is the slave's government also."

The next morning, he learned that someone had paid the tax. He never knew who. Although Thoreau objected, the constable insisted on releasing him.

This experience led him to write a powerful lecture on the "relation of the individual to the State."

The lecture was published in 1849 as "Civil Disobedience."

This masterful essay has influenced generations of activists, including Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1856: Disastrous Gale on the Coast of Labrador

Twenty-nine out of thirty ships lost, one Provincetown ship is survivor


On this day over a century and a half ago, word was finally received by Cape Cod Marine telegraph about the ships lost in an enormous gale that struck the coast of Labrador earlier in the month.

Of the thirty sailing vessels along the shore that day, twenty-nine were driven ashore and destroyed including one from Provincetown, the brig Samuel Cook.

The one vessel which rode out the storm was the General Warren, also out of Provincetown.  Read the complete report below.

(Above photo: A small harbor on the rocky, inhospitable coast of Labrador in 1856.)


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