As with most people, I simply took at face value the popular version that Paul Revere warned that the British were coming, the British were coming.
Not having any real reason to look into it any deeper, Sarah Palin’s statement that Revere warned the British that the colonial militias were waiting seemed odd.
But it appears that the popular version is not complete.
In fact, as pointed out at Conservatives4Palin, Revere did in fact tell the British that the colonial militias, who had been alerted, were waiting for them. Here is the original historical text written by Revere (spelling in original, bold added):
I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back,and orderd me to dismount;-one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from,& what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up. He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my Horse, after searching me for arms
Palin’s short statement on the video was less than clear; that sometimes happens but the part of the statement which has people screaming — that Revere warned the British that the colonial militias were waiting — appears to be true.
I’ve learned something new today, about Paul Revere.
The leading lights of the left-blogosphere have made fools of themselves, as have people who are not of the left-blogosphere. I presume they all will be apologizing.
It’s hard to imagine why Revere would warn the British of anything, or why he’d do it with bells and gun shots.
This account in “Paul Revere’s Ride” by David Hackett Fischer (Oxford University Press 1994), may be of interest to Think Progress and all the others laughing because they purport to be so much better informed than Palin:
“A townsman remembered that ‘repeated gunshots, the beating of drums and the ringing of bells filled the air.’…. Along the North Shore of Massachusetts, church bells began to toll and the heavy beat of drums could be heard for many miles in the night air.”
It’s available on Google Books.
Update 6-4-2011: “I’m not a potted plant. I’m here as the blogger. That’s my job.”