"Maltese People: Maltese in America: American Revolutionary War: Liberty Bell: John Pass (Pace??)"



The Liberty Bell, also known as the "Independence Bell" and the "Old Yankee's Bell" in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of the most prominent symbols of the American Revolutionary War. 

According to tradition, on the 7 July 1776 it was rung to summon citizens of Philadelphia for the reading of the Declaration of Independence. 

It was later adopted by the American Anti-Slavery Society as a symbol of the abolitionist movement. 

The bell was ordered in 1751 by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly for use in the Pennsylvania State House. It weighed 2,080 lbs and was delivered to Philadelphia in late August/early September 1752 via the ship Hibernia. Unfortunately, the bell cracked during testing. 

Someone had to fix it and the choice fell on two local gentlemen, John Pass and John Stowe. Pass is described as being from the Island of Malta, whilst “Stow,” was the son of Charles Stow, the door-keeper of the Council. These added copper to the composition of the alloy used to cast the bell, but the tone of the bell proved unsatisfactory. It is said that after the first restoration Pass and Stow “were so teased with witticisms of the town” that they asked permission to cast it over again. Permission was granted and the two recast the bell yet again, restoring the correct balance of metal, and this third bell was hung in the steeple of the State House in June 1753. For their work, Pass and Stow were paid 60 English pounds, 13 shillings and five pence. 

The second job must have been an excellent one because the twice-restored bell withstood almost a full century of bell clapping. In fact, it was only in 1846 that a thin crack appeared. By then both Pass and Stow were long gone. (See also  and ). 


In Malta there is no surname ‘Pass’ but only “Pace”, “Pax” and “Impax”. Most probably, John had anglicized his surname.


John Pace surely knew what he was doing because there are many large bells which are found in the beautiful churches of Malta, which is where he grew up. 


Thinking about it, it’s more likely that the first restoration (the cost-saving one) was the work of the door-keeper’s son whilst it was the Maltese-born Pass/Pace who put matters right J !!



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