continued to patrol the sea off the coast of America.
They would regularly stop merchant ships to examine their
cargo looking for illegal goods, and enforcing British
customs and taxation laws. The Gaspee was a British Royal
Navy ship assigned to customs duty.
On June 9, 1772,
the Gaspee was chasing a merchant ship believed to be
smuggling goods. The Gaspee ran aground in Narragansett
Bay, near Providence. The next night, a group of men
boarded the Gaspee. They were led by John Brown, a
wealthy merchant from Providence. They wounded the
lieutenant who was commanding the ship, and set the ship
The British ordered a full investigation. They offered
a reward to anyone identifying the people responsible. No
one came forward, and no one was ever charged for the
The British once again tried to gain more control over
the colonies. The British began to directly pay the
governors' salary, rather than being paid by the
colonies. The British hoped that by paying the governor's
salary, they would eliminate the colonies ability to
control the governor by withholding salary.
The colonies saw this as another step to put them
under British control, and to eliminate their freedoms.
Also see, George Washington's Letter to Congress