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Hewes was one of the vibrant survivors who participated in the American Revolution. He took part in many strategic protests such as the Boston tea party and the Boston massacre. Hewes would also enlist himself in the revolution army as a privateer as well as a militiaman. Having gone through all these experiences, Hewes authored two biographies which were his reflection on his life and the perspectives he had while taking sides. Hewes was born in southern Boston in 1742 to a poor background. At a tender age of 14 years, he was taught to be a shoe maker which he says was something he completely hated. He tried to seek for other opportunities such as joining the British army but due to his height, he was rejected. Before joining his political line, Hewes lived a poor life making shoes with his wife sally. They were considered to be among Boston’s lower class members.
Hewes name and revolutionary participation however started with the Boston Massacre in 1770. He exemplarily gained fame when he joined other craftsmen who were collecting debt from British officers. On one occasion, Hewes was bruised by an officer but he still matched with his bruised shoulders to support his fellow craftsmen. Hewes would further gain fame when he joined fellow Bostonians protesting the tea act. The demonstrators protested by dumping the tea in the sea at the Boston Harbor(Young). This event is currently known as the Boston tea party. The protestors would group themselves into three parties where each party would board one of the three tea ships. Hewes was in the team that boarded Dartmouth ship. Due to his whistling talent, he was elected boatswain by his colleagues. Owing to the power crowed on him, Hewes would constantly go the ship’s captain to ask for the keys to the tea chests. When one of the captains who was also a protestor tried to reserve some tea for himself, Hewes physically fought him. He ensured that all the tea chests were emptied to the Boston harbor. It was a protest that needed devoted protestors since it took three hours to empty one chest of tea to the harbor. After the demonstrations, Hewes like other protestors returned to his residences.
Not long after the Boston tea party, Hewes found himself in a highly publicized incident surrounding tarring and feathering Malcolm John. This was one of the most iconic revolutionary events during the American Revolution. As supporter of royal and Bostonian authority, Hewes was to be the next renowned Loyalist in Boston. Malcolm worked for the British service with a lot of zeal despite being a Bostonian. For that reason, he became unpopular and was hated by many Bostonians. They often shouted names at him on the streets when they saw him. Sailors in Portsmouth found a chance to tare are feather Malcolm in 1773 when he confronted Hewes and injured him. According to documented sources, Hewes confronted Malcolm for threatening to beat a young boy using his cane. Upon intervening to stop Malcolm from harassing the boy, they engaged in an argument(Young). Malcolm told Hewes not to interfere with a gentleman’s business. Hewes replied to him saying that at least He (Hewes) was not tarred and feathered like Malcolm. Angered by his remarks, Malcolm struck Hewes with his cane on the forehead hard enough that he fell unconscious.
Joseph Warren was a patriot doctor who treated Hewes although the cane left a scar on his forehead. Hewes went to a magistrate to get an arrest warrant for Malcolm for what he had done to him. By this time, Hewes had a huge mass of followers who seized Malcolm from his house for what he had done to Hewes. The crowd dragged him across King Street and threatened to hang him at Liberty tree and cut off his ear. They insisted that he should apologize to Hewes and as well renounce his British service work after which he was left alone. The event was further escalated by newsrooms and newspapers around the Atlantic which led to military action in Boston. Hewes escaped Boston for Wrentham with his family in order to avoid confrontation with the military. However, Hewes later signed up to be a militia fighter in 1776 and sailed in a privateering ship that resulted to capturing of 3 rival vessels. Hewes joined the crew who were threatening a mutiny when the captains were reluctant to sail back to shore after a long voyage. He further served in the militia and in battle at Rhode Island. In 1779, Hewes recalls signing up for the Connecticut ship voyage that took seven months and successfully captured 4 ships and money but the captain denied Hewes his share(Young).
From his historical journey, it is evident that Hewes went through a harsh upbringing and received little from his parents. Besides, he was an active patriot who stood for the rights of fellow Bostonians at any cost. For that reason Hewes’ name became popular following his continues acts of brevity and patriotism. His upbringing and the challenges that he faced in his life played a major role in shaping his personality. Having gone through extreme hardships, Hewes firmly criticized brutality. This is especially evident where Hewes during tar and feathering where Hewes urged the crowd not to harm the man who had almost killed him brutally. Hewes’s behavior characterizes a leader who wanted what is just and legal for his people. At no point was Hewes quoted to be vagabond or rascal despite his poverty and active role in ensuring fair treatment of his people.
Hewes played a major role in the American Revolution. He can be references as an assertive poor man who forced a rank on himself by gaining good credit from other Bostonians due to his exemplary efforts in fighting against brutality(Young). The first phase of his resistance was based on personal reasons against the British when they took a pair of shoes without paying him. Hewes was further aggravated by the British who were taking away jobs from Bostonians. On one occasion, a British soldier was jealous that Hewes shoe shop was getting many loyalist customers so he shot one of them to disperse them. It is at this point that Hewes felt that something needed to be done to end radicalism and brutality.
Fate and his growing urge to restore his people’s dignity made Hewes to find himself in the middle of major movements and events where people were advocating for their rights. His contributions to these major events that have a mark in the American Revolution cannot be overlooked. However, Hewes has been singled out as a minor leader but regardless how different people may perceive him to be, Hewes definitely played his role fabulously and made a huge contribution towards the American Revolution(Young). Hewes was a man of great ability who mobilized people to doing not only what was right for them but also stood up for ethical humanitarian consideration.
Hewes used his reputation and patriotism to restore the destiny of Bostonians and other American and in the process gained immense fortune and fame. In a continued effort to support his society, Hewes signed up as a fighter not to know that the war would greatly affect his fortune, fame and the little achievements that he had made. Hewes states that he did not regret standing for his country but the level of damage that was done to him was not worth the compensation that he received from the government in form of low value paper money. He further adds that the British military also razed the shoe shop that he had put up in Boston which greatly affected his life after the war. However, Hewes fundamentally appreciates the spiritual reward for bringing equality and being part of the revolution in America. As the last survivor of the American Revolution, Hewes was appreciated in the celebration of the Boston tea party. Hewes is a clear illustration of a selfless leader who puts his self-interests second to humanitarian interests.
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