Welcome to This Day in Today,
My name is Tom Keefe, and I’m the Babbling Professor!
“Metcalf Bowler: Patriot or Traitor?”
On this day, April 25, 1775, the Speaker of the Rhode Island House, Metcalf Bowler, sent a letter to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress that Rhode Island supported its northern neighbor:
Our intelligence to the Governour and Company of this Colony, by Edward Rawson, Esquire, was received by the Assembly, who were sitting in Providence to consult and act upon the present distresses into which your Colony and all of New-England are involved. You will see by the enclosed papers what we have done. Not-withstanding an exception of a very few individuals, you may be assured that the Colony are firm and determined, and that a greater unanimity scarce ever prevailed in the Lower House than was found in the great questions before them. We pray God that he would be graciously pleased to bring to nothing the counsels and designs of wicked men against our lives and liberties, and grant his blessing upon our righteous contest. I am, in behalf of the General Assembly, your and your Colony’ s sincere friend and humble servant,
Metcalf Bowler, Speaker
Bowler, born in London, England, was a wealthy merchant in Newport, Rhode Island. He was also a horticulturist who maintained the most beautiful garden in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and is remembered for cultivating the popular Rhode Island Greening Apple. Metcalf Bowler was the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Rhode Island from 1767-1776. After his estate in Portsmouth was ruined during the British occupation in December 1776, Bowler fled to Providence. In the late 1920s, research into the papers of Sir Henry Clinton found letters revealing that Bowler was a paid informant trying to protect his Portsmouth estate. One of Rhode Island’s heroes, and creator of the Rhode Island State Fruit, was a traitor.
Metcalf Bowler: Rhode Island’s Benedict Arnold?
175 years later On this day, April 25, 1945, in the aftermath of WWII, fifty nations gathered in San Francisco, California and began the United Nations Conference on International Organization.
Speaking of WWI On this day, April 25, 1992, George Mantello died in Rome, Italy. Mantello (December 11, 1901 – April 25, 1992) was a Jewish diplomat who, while working at the Salvadoran consulate in Geneva, Switzerland from 1942 to 1945, saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust by providing them with fictitious Salvadoran citizenship papers. He was also instrumental in publicizing in mid-1944 the deportation of Hungarian Jews to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
More recently, on this day, April 25, 1979, Manal Masoud Almonemi al-Sharif was born in Saudi Arabia. Al-Sharif is a women’s rights activist from Saudi Arabia who helped start a women’s right to drive campaign in 2011. The women’s rights activist filmed herself driving and posted the video on YouTube and Facebook. Al-Sharif was detained and released on May 21st, then rearrested the following day. Al-Sharif was released on bail, on the conditions of returning for questioning if requested, not driving and not talking to the media. However, the video marked the beginning of what is now known as the “Women2Drive” campaign for women’s rights in the very conservative Arab kingdom.
That’s all for today’s segment of This Day in Today, and remember,
Today’s Tomorrow’s yesterday.
Thank you for listening!