Charles Willson Peale, despite his devotion to the taxonomic and contemplative majesty of the natural world, nevertheless loved novelties and used all sorts of amusements to attract customers to his museum. He eventually resorted to hiring a popular musical performer who played five different instruments simultaneously, using all parts of his body. Following Peale’s death the museum passed into the enterprising hands of P. T. Barnum, becoming part of his traveling circus — a romantic ending for an Enlightenment institution.
Signer of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat, second President; 1735—1826.
Political philosopher, Boston revolutionary leader, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Massachusetts governor; 1722—1803.
Boston merchant, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Massachusetts governor; 1737—93.
Lawyer, politician, Boston revolutionary; 1725—83.
Artisan, Boston revolutionary, militia soldier, foundryman; 1735—1818.
Boston doctor, revolutionary, militia general; died at the Battle of Bunker Hill; 1741—75.
Playwright, historian, sister of James Otis, Jr, wife of James Warren; 1728—1814.
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)