The 1795 Boston Time Capsule

Paul Revere Silver plaque found in 1795 Boston Time Capsule. (photo courtesy of The Guardian - AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Paul Revere Silver plaque found in 1795 Boston Time Capsule. (photo courtesy of The Guardian – AP Photo/Steven Senne)

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” ~Samuel Adams (1776)

My inner nerd rejoices. News of the opening of the oldest US time capsule in Boston is an incredible moment for US historians. Although we don’t have a site dedicated to the American Revolution, that period of US history has always fascinated me and fuelled my love affair with Beantown. I’ve been to Boston many times, spent many hours in the Granary Burial Ground, Copp’s Burial Ground, visited the home of Paul Revere and walked along the Freedom Trail. It’s an incredible place for historians whatever period you study.

Found by workers trying to fix the irrigation system at the Massachusetts State House, the contents include a coin dating as far back as 1652 that was printed by the colonies in defiance of Britain, an engraved silver Paul Revere plate, a document from the colonies and newspapers. It was initially put there by none other than Founding Father Samuel Adams and Revolutionary hero, Paul Revere in 1795.  That’s mind blowing. The articles will be meticulously documented and preserved by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and exhibited to the public at some point in the near future.

Boston seems to be a bit of a time capsule hot spot. Another capsule, this time dating to 1901, was discovered in October 2014 at the Boston State House. It was found inside the statue of a lion and contained photographs, newspapers and a book on American foreign policy from 1886. The State House seems to have been the historical go-to dumping ground!

One has to wonder what Adams and Revere envisioned would happen to the American Colonies when they placed the capsule there 220 years ago. I’d like to think they’d probably be rather pleased with the results. I will hopefully make my way to Boson at some point again and see this incredible discovery. Until then, rejoice America, this is your history.

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