In 1764, one of their escapades reached the point of being a riot. Having imbibed freely of rum, they conceived the idea of freeing the
prisoners and marched to the New Jail and demanded the keys of the keeper. Upon his refusal to surrender them, the excited soldiers fired through the door, grazing the ear of one of their officers.
Major Rogers, who was confined for debt and whose release was the prime object of the attack. They then forced the door and told the prisoners they were free and attempted to
carry off their major in triumph. The prisoners seemed unwilling to leave, and the soldiers attempted to drive them out; but the arrival of the city militia soon quelled the incipient riot and the ringleaders were arrested. Upon their trial, they accused Rogers of being the instigator of the attempt at rescue; but the affair was passed lightly by, like most similar affairs of the British soldiery.
The Stamp Act Riot-1765
In 1765, the British Parliament enacted the Stamp Act. A meeting of the merchants of the city was called at Burns's Coffee House on Broadway, and the first non-importation agreement was signed, October 31, 1765. On the evening of the next day, two companies of the Sons of Liberty appeared on the streets. One company marched to the Commons where they hanged in effigy Lieutenant-Governor Cadwalader Colden; the other company broke into Colden's stable and took out his chariot, in which they placed a copy of the obnoxious act and an effigy of the lieutenant-governor. Both companies then united and marched in silence to the Bowling Green, where they found the soldiers drawn up on the ramparts of the fort ready to receive them. General Gage, the British commander, thought it prudent not to fire upon the rioters; and, as they were refused admission to the fort, they turned their attention to the wooden railing which surrounded the little park. This they tore down for fuel; and, having burnt railing, carriage, act, and effigy, they dispersed to their homes.
The Stamp Act stirred up a hornet's nest from Georgia to Massachusetts; and in order to allay the excitement, Parliament, on February 20, 1766, repealed the hateful act. When the news of the repeal reached New York, the inhabitants went wild with delight, the city was illuminated, and special bonfires were lighted in the Bowling
Green. The wooden fence was replaced temporarily in November of the same year; but the general assembly of the province feared: "That unless the said Green be fenced in, the same will soon become a receptacle for all the filth and dirt of the neighborhood, in order to prevent which, it is ordered that
the same be fenced with iron rails, at an expense of £800."
For further information on the Stamp Act Riot please
Unrest Before The Revolution