Date: Sunday, June 4, 2017
Opening Day of the 26th season of the NBC10 Newport International Polo Series, Presented by BMW, witnessed the inauguration of the 33rd International Liberty Bowl, to represent USA vs. Peru, in the same spirit of America's first Liberty Bowl, commissioned here in New England, uniting a brotherhood in the pursuit of a common goal for the good of our populace. Each international rivalry in the Polo Series has its own silver perpetual Liberty Bowl trophy engraved with the names of the winning teams. [Shown, from left: Rodrigue Vieljeux, Santiago de Osma, Iago Masias, Jose A. Aramburú and Adrian Poblete; photo by Rodrigo Fernandez]
A cherished symbol of our national heritage, this historic bowl is this nation’s most highly prized and widely reproduced piece of early American silver. The original bowl was hand-crafted in 1768 by revolutionary patriot and silversmith Paul Revere for the Sons of Liberty, a secret 15-member colonial organization formed in opposition to the English Crown. Appropriately entitled the ‘Liberty Bowl’, this national treasure marks the dawn of independence in America.
In 1765, the British Parliament began a series of measures aimed at repressing self-government in the Colonies. These measures, taking the form of duties on such staples as tea, glass and paper goods were violently opposed by the colonists. The Massachusetts Bay House of Representatives, in particular, felt compelled to circulate among the Colonies a letter not only protesting against the British Ministry, but also suggestion a united front against their policy of “taxation without representation”.
The Ministry, in return, ordered the members of the House of Representatives to either rescind the letter or dissolve their Assembly. On June 30, 1768, this imperious ruling of the Crown was read, considered, and voted upon by the 109 members of the Massachusetts Assembly. They boldly resolved, by a vote of 92-17, to disobey the King’s order, thereby strengthening their stand and bringing the colonists one step closer to the fight for independence.
To commemorate this momentous act of the courageous 92 who voted in opposition, the Sons of Liberty commissioned their friend, Paul Revere, to hammer up a silver bowl that could be suitably engraved with the names of these men. Also to be engraved on this bowl were Liberty caps, wreaths and other symbols evoking the Libertarian spirit of the day, and most importantly, the following inscription:
“To the Memory of the glorious Ninety-Two: members of the Hon’bl House of Representatives of the Massachusetts Bay, undaunted by the insolent Menace of Villains in Power, from a strict Regard to Conscience, and the Liberties of their constituents; on the 30th of June 1768, voted ‘NOT TO RESCIND’.
The ownership of the silver bowl was shared jointly by the 15 Sons of Liberty who commissioned it, until one of the men, William Mackay, bought out the interest of the others. The bowl remained in Mackay’s family until 1948, when it was purchased by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It stands there today, proud symbol of our nation’s heritage.