The Sons of Liberty Bowl, commonly known as the “Revere Bowl” is in safekeeping at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Massachusetts. That’s a good thing. For years it did its journey, traveling from hand to hand, or maybe from one locked vault to another. Now for the last 67 years it safely rests close to home in a public institution where it should stay forever. I look to it as one of the greatest American freedom symbols- tangible evidence of a significant step leading to the American Revolution. We celebrate the colonial patriots’ defense of liberty. Their rebellious outrage set the stage for the birth of our grand nation. http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/sons-of-liberty-bowl-39072
If you are a bit rusty on your early American history, here’s how the story goes.
Following the Seven Years’ War (1754-1763), the British Empire was deep in debt. The war awarded Great Britain with enormous territorial gains in North America. It was an expensive fight and the Brits needed cash and lots of it. As a means to pay down the costs, the English parliament passed the Townshend Acts (1767). The acts were a means to generate revenue from the 13 American colonies, financially support the military presence there and to pay off government loyalists to Great Britain. The acts enforced taxation on commodity imports from England and the ultimate backlash was widespread colonial discontent. Civilians furiously protested against assuming accountability for imposed taxation without having representation or any public form of consent in parliament.
Unrest was not new among the colonies. Anger over British rule fomented for years. As injustices continued the ordinary citizens elected their own representatives. They were weary of subjugation to the Brits and wanted their voices heard. The First Congress of the American Colonies was organized in 1765 in response to the unfair Stamp Act tax passed by King George III. Another anti-British secret society formed, they were known as the “Sons of Liberty”. Their mission was to protect the rights of colonists and actively work on local, grassroots level opposing the Stamp Act. Paul Revere was a member of the “Sons of Liberty” in Boston. The stage was set and the revolution was mounting.
An opposing blow to British rule came in 1768. Ninety-two members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives refused to rescind a letter sent throughout the colonies in protest against the taxation laws of the Townshend Acts. This civil act of disobedience against British governance formed a coalition against the ruling policy of “taxation without representation“. To honor this refusal, 15 prominent members of the “Sons of Liberty” commissioned Paul Revere, a master silversmith to create a memorial bowl. The names of the fifteen patriotic members of the society are proudly engraved on the exterior.
What I love about this national treasure is its variegated backdrop of people, places and historic events. The inscription captures a seminal moment in American history, a single act of defiance to the crown of England which lead to the creation of the great nation we enjoy today. Such a simple shape with loving script embodies the lofty virtues of our founding fathers- honor, liberty, and the right of every citizen in the pursuit of happiness.
We do not pretend to create such a significant historical object. The purpose of the original Sons of Liberty Bowl tells a great story. Our Paloma Bowl pays tribute to that pivotal act in early American history. We believe all special objects find an important place in your own family’s history through celebrations, holidays or midnight snacks. They reflect your values and become companions in your daily life. Owning a Paloma Bowl may not inspire you to change the course of history, but we are convinced you will famously cherish its presence forever.