Boston, Massachusetts.

10th August,1765.


I had always enjoyed going down to the harbour, for me it was always a place of great adventure, where the great warships loomed over us and the stories from the sailors sent our imaginations racing.

On that day it was no different, I ran underneath the shadows of the sails and screamed at the Gulls that flew above me, delighting in hearing their replies. I watched as the shipbuilders went about their work, not even noticing the young boy who lurked nearby, his curiosity refusing to be hindered.

My name is William McKinnon, and, on that day, I had no idea what was about to spark into life, for I was only a boy of ten, yet it was due to be my last day of innocence, for on that day I arrived back at my father's print shop, to find him in a meeting with nine other men.

They were all in the backroom, all huddled around the small table and each holding a tankard of beer in their hands. Their voices were low, but I was small enough to slip into the room unnoticed and sit on the floor by the door and just watched the men curiously.

My father sat at the head of the table; his withered face shadowed in the dim candlelight. He was a stern man, but was also a loving and caring man, who was passionate about his beliefs.

In the years following these meetings, these men would be known as the Loyal Nine and even though my father would never be included on the list of members, his contribution was of valued importance.

"We have only a few more months before the Stamp Act comes into power, which means we need to start acting," said Henry Bass, he was a Jeweller in Boston and was connected to the Adams of Massachusetts, a well known family whose ancestors were one of the first settlers of the colony.

"We must be cautious, I'm sure London would love the excuse to send Redcoats into Boston," replied Joseph Field, he was the Captain of his own ship and an experienced sailor.

"Now is not the time for caution, Grenville has already being dismissed by the King and I can't see Rockingham being an even more effective Prime Minister, we need to show that the colonies will not sit by and accept this imposing tax," Benjamin Ede vented, he was the editor of the Boston Gazette and had been using his paper to voice his outrage at the recent Stamp Act.

There was a rumbling of agreement at his words and I looked to my father to see that his face remained unchanged. He was apprehensive and at that moment I didn't understand why, but the next few days I would come to realise it.

"My cousin Samuel has already taken action, he has supported calls to boycott British goods, it will put pressure on Parliament that's for sure," Henry informed, looking around the room at them all.

"I respect Samuel, but sometimes I worry his actions will send the wrong sought of message," John Avery said, he was a distiller and the club secretary, although the way he spoke it seemed inevitable that he would become a politician.

Henry sighed at that, for all these men were patriots and all found the taxes being imposed by the Crown to be unfair, but yet the right action seemed to take a lot of debating, but I found it all fascinating.

"What say you Alexander?" Avery asked my father, causing all the others to turn towards him.

"I believe that action must be taken, for I am well experienced in the tyrannical games of the English and I know that it will get only worse if we do nothing," my father said quietly, his thick Scottish accent was deep and strong.

The experience he was referring too was the Jacobite Uprising in the 1740s, my father was one of the rebels who fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie and survived both the Battle of Prestonpans and the ill-fated Battle of Culloden. It was after that dreadful day that he had spent years in prison, before finally being expelled to the colonies.

"The regulator movement has already begun down in North Carolina, it is time for us to do something too," Henry added passionately.

Around the table, the other members voiced their approval, all except Avery who temporarily kept silent. When all the men looked at him, he finally nodded, and the planning began.

"So, who do we have in mind to lead the protests?" Thomas Chase asked, he was a distiller and good friend to many of the businessmen in Boston.

"It cannot be any of us, we must not be seen leading any sort of rabble," Avery said sternly, to which the other men agreed.

"Are you gentlemen familiar with Ebenezer MacIntosh?" Henry inquired, a small mischievous smirk on his lips.

"The shoemaker?" I'm aware of him, he heads the South End gang, they were the ones caught up in that business last Guy Fawkes Day, when that boy was killed," Benjamin explained, causing a small grumble of remembrance from the others.

"Well I've been speaking to him and he is willing to unite the South End with the North End gang and he assures me that he can arrange for a mob to protest in the streets and promises that they will get Oliver and Hutchinson's attention,"

Despite some reservations, the group agreed and within the next few days I was to witness my first riot.

14th August 1765.

I remember the rioters even now, storming down the streets of Boston. My father and I watched from afar as they surrounded the elm tree and it was there, they hung the straw effigies of Andrew Oliver, the man chosen by King George to impose the Stamp Act.

Next to him they had also hung a British Calvary Jackboot, which had been painted green. This was done to symbolise both the Earl of Bute and the former British Prime Minister, George Grenville, both were considered responsible for the entire Act.

Though truth be told I didn't see the symbolism in these acts, for I was just a boy, but my father insisted in making we witness these events, predicting that my future of adulthood and the future of the colonies were intertwined.

"The future of this land will be yours to decide son, so pay attention and watch what happens here tonight," he said and so I watched everything closely, I watched the effigies swing from the tree while the people of Boston cheered.

Soon Sheriff Greenleaf arrived under orders of Thomas Hutchinson, the Lieutenant Governor to remove the hanging models. But they never got near the tree, for the large crowd blocked their path and forced the Sheriff and his men to flee by throwing stones at them.

Later that night we followed the rioters as they cut down the effigy and carried it to Andrew Oliver's offices. There they tore the building down and stamped the timbers to add insult to injury.

From there we moved to Oliver's house and that is where the real destruction began. The crowd did not hold back in anyway, for as soon as they saw the house, they charged towards it and began to ransack every part of it.

They beheaded and then burned the effigy and then followed that by burning down his stable house, his coach and chaise. His contents in the house were looted and destroyed and when the Sheriff returned, this time accompanied by Governor Hutchinson himself, the result was the same. They attempted to stop the destruction happening around them but were once again stoned and forced to retreat.

In the days that followed Oliver attempted to resign, but MacIntosh instead forced him to parade through the streets and then publicly resign underneath the tree where he is effigy had hung.

For me and for many of us this was the beginning of the war, for soon one word was spread around and it became the basis for all of our fights to come, it was what we proclaimed to be sons of and what we even called that elm tree.

That word was Liberty.