- Learn: Tensions Rise from Great Britain -
Tensions Rise from Great Britain
Warren is an active member of St. Andrew's Masonic Lodge in Boston in 1761. He becomes Grand Master in 1769. His Masonic brethren include men like Paul Revere, John Hancock and Thomas Crafts. Warren and his Lodge will play a major role in planning the destruction of the Tea, holding their meetings at the Green Dragon Tavern.
As a church member of the Brattle Street Congregation, Warren becomes well acquainted with revolutionary James Otis, Jr. He also gets to know Otis' sister, Mercy Otis Warren (married to James Warren, a distant cousin of Joseph) who resides in Plymouth. Note: James Warren will later succeed Joseph Warren as President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress.
Opposing British Policies
With the need to raise funds from among all of their colonies worldwide to retire war debt from the French & Indian War, administer new lands acquired from France, pay Royal Governors, and support the stationing of British troops in America, the British Parliament begs to impose both taxation measures and regulatory policies to address these issues. Responding to the Sugar Act of 1764, the Stamp Act of 1765, and the Townshend Act of 1767, Warren begins writing articles against what many view as oppressive and unjust British policies under various pseudonyms including "B.W.", "Paskalos" and "A True Patriot".
On March 5, 1770, British troops, taunted by an angry Boston mob, fire into the crowd, killing several civilians. Warren helps the wounded and performs autopsies on the dead. Along with James Bowdoin and Samuel Pemberton, he is appointed to prepare a narrative of the events, which became an incendiary propaganda pamphlet A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston, meant to blame the British for the bloodshed, exonerate Boston's inhabitants, and turn the victims into martyrs. Warren will deliver two Boston Massacre orations at Old South Meeting House in 1772 and in 1775 under threat of assassination.
Boston Tea Party
Warren is involved in planning the Destruction of the Tea. A few weeks prior to the Tea Party, Warren's Lodge records show that talks about the Tea Consignees take up most of their meeting time. The Tea Consignees and some of the ship captains are either Warren's friends, old classmates, patients, or masonic brothers. As the owner of Hooton's Wharf, Warren is connected to the seafaring populace, sailors, ship captain's, warehouse and store owners. One day prior to the Tea Party, Warren privately meets with one of the ship's owners. He is present at the meeting in Old South Meeting House on the evening of December 16, 1773.
Committees of Correspondence
As unrest grows, Samuel Adams and Warren work together in forming Committees of Correspondence to enable the colonies to stay informed about what is happening in each colony.
In retaliation for the destruction of the tea, the British Parliament enacts the Coersive or "Intolerable" Acts, which have an adverse reaction throughout the colonies. In Virginia, Patrick Henry rages against the Acts, saying that if this type of action can be taken against Massachusetts that it can also be taken against other colonies as well. In response to the Intolerable Acts, Warren authors the "Suffolk Resolves"; a declaration of rights and grievances that is a precursor document to the Declaration of Independence. Stating that "No obedience is due to the Acts", Warren writes that colonies should continue their boycotts of British goods; and that local militias should prepare for armed resistance against the British. The Resolves are the first official response of any colony to the Acts and are unanimously endorsed by the Continental Congress in September 1774.
Massachusetts Provincial Congress
In April 1775 Warren is appointed President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, where he systematically begins to direct taking back control of local governments by pressuring British officials to vacate their positions. When Warren learns that the British are planning to march to Concord to seize or destroy stores of patriot cannon and other artillery ordinance that Warren and the Committee of Safety have gathered to be sent there, he sends out riders to alert the countryside, who include Paul Revere and William Dawes.