December 1769 – The author of “To The The Betrayed Inhabitants”, a broadside exposing corruption in the colonial assembly, Alexander McDougall, is arrested! When he arrives at the courthouse for his bail hearing it is so filled with supporters that he has difficulty getting in. McDougall makes his way to the front of the courtroom and declares “I’d rather go back to jail for the cause of liberty and freedom!” The room erupts into cheers and off to jail goes McDougall.
For the next four months, the Sons of Liberty put on a show in front of the jail. They cheer 45 times every afternoon for their leader. (The number of his arrest warrant.) They bring rum and toast 45 times. And on the 45th day of McDougall’s incarceration, 45 virgins dressed in white sing the 45th Psalm. This prompts the loyalist newspaper to question whether the city HAS 45 genuine virgins. The fiasco ends in April 1770 when the only witness, the printer, dies in his sleep.
Alexander McDougall goes on to command the 1st NY as a Major General and after the war will be the first president of the board of the Bank of New York.
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