Rhode Island colonists, like just about all other colonists, greatly resented the new tough enforcement of trade laws by British officials. It made profitable trade virtually impossible. The HMS Gaspee and its commander Lt. Dudingston developed a reputation for being one of the worst in terms of strict enforcement and poor treatment of civilians.
One night in 1772, the Gaspee ran aground on a sandbar in Naragansett Bay. That night, locals rowed out to the ship, shot Dudingston, removed the crew, and burned the ship to the waterline. Officials tried to get tough and ship some of the attackers back to London for a treason trial. But the colonial code of silence prevented the government from being able to prosecute any of the attackers.
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