The Boston tea party.
The East India Company, who were now by Act
of Parliament authorized to export tea to America
entirely duty free in England
, applied to the Treasury in August for the necessary license.
They were warned by Americans
, that their adventure1
would end in loss, and some difficulties occurred in details; but the scruples of the Company
were overruled by Lord North, who answered peremptorily, ‘It is to no purpose making objections, for the King
will have it so. The King
means to try the question with America
The time was short; the danger to Boston
nent; resistance at all hazards was the purpose of its Committee of Correspondence; violent resistance might become necessary; and to undertake it without a certainty of union would only bring ruin on the town and on the cause.
A Congress, therefore, on ‘the plan of union pro-
posed by Virginia
,’ was the fixed purpose of Samuel Adams
He would have no delay; no waiting for increased strength; for, said he, ‘when our liberty is gone, history and experience will teach us, that an increase of inhabitants will be but an increase of slaves.’
Through the press he appealed to the Continent for a Congress in order to insist effectually upon such terms as would not admit of any other authority within the Colonies than that of their respective Legislatures.3
It was not possible to join issue with the King
The first difficulty to be overcome existed in Boston
, the Speaker
, who had received a private letter from Dartmouth, and was lulled into confiding in ‘the noble and generous sentiments’ of that Minister, advised that for the time the people should bear their grievances.
‘Our natural increase in wealth and population,’ said he, ‘will in a course of years settle this dispute in our favor; whereas, if we persist in denying the right of Parliament to legislate for us, they may think us extravagant in our demands, and there will be great danger of bringing on a rupture fatal to both countries.’
He thought the redress of grievances would more surely come ‘if these high points about the supreme authority of Parliament were to fall asleep.’4
Against this feeble advice, the Boston
Committee of Correspondence aimed at the union of the Province, and ‘the Confederacy
of the whole Continent of America
refused to waive the claim of right, which could only
divide the Americans
in sentiment and confuse their counsels.
‘What oppressions,’ they asked in their circular to all the other towns, ‘may we not expect in another seven years, if through a weak credulity, while the most arbitrary measures are still persisted n, we should be prevailed upon to submit our rights, as the patriotic Farmer expresses it, to the tender mercies of the Ministry?
Watchfulness, unity and harmony are necessary to the salvation of ourselves and posterity from bondage.
We have an animating confidence in the Supreme Disposer
of events, that He will never suffer a sensible, brave, and virtuous People to be enslaved.’5
Sure of Boston
and its Committee, Samuel Adams
next conciliated the favoring judgment of the patriot Hawley
, whose influence in the Province was deservedly great, and who had shared with him the responsibility of the measures of the Assembly.
‘I submit to you my ideas at this time, because matters seem to me to be drawing to a crisis.’
Such were his words on the fourth, and the thirteenth of October. ‘The present Administration, even though the very good Lord Dartmouth is one of them, are as fixed as any of their predecessors in their resolution to carry their favorite point, an acknowledgment of the right of Parliament to make laws, binding us in all cases whatever.
Some of our politicians would have the people believe, that Administration are disposed, or determined to have all the grievances which we complain of, redressed, if we will only be quiet;
but this would be a fatal delusion.
If the King
self should make any concessions, or take any steps, contrary to the right of Parliament to tax us, he would be in danger of embroiling himself with the Ministry.
Under the present prejudices, even the recalling an instruction to the Governor
is not likely to be advised.
The subject matter of our complaint is, not that a burden greater than our proportion was laid upon us by Parliament; such a complaint we might have made without questioning the authority of Parliament; but that the Parliament has assumed and exercised the power of taxing us. His Majesty, in his answer to our late Petitions, implies, that the Parliament is the Supreme Legislature
; and that its authority over the Colonies is the Constitution
All allow the Minister
in the American Department
to be a good man. The Great men in England
have an opinion of us, as being a mightily religious people; and suppose that we shall place an entire confidence in a Minister of the same character.
In fact, how many were filled with the most sanguine expectations, when they heard, that the good Lord Dartmouth was intrusted with a share in Administration.
Yet without a greatness of mind, equal, perhaps superior to his goodness, it will be impossible for him singly to stem the torrent of corruption.
This requires much more fortitude, than I yet believe he is possessed of. The safety of the Americans
depends upon their pursuing their wise plan of union in principle and conduct.’7
Such were the thoughts which Samuel Adams
unbosomed to his faithful fellow-laborer.
which he directed, continued to demand an annual ‘Congress of American States to frame a Bill of Rights
,’ or to ‘form an independent State, an American Commonwealth.’
Union, then, Union, was the first, the last, the only hope for America
, where the overruling will of Samuel Adams
swayed the feebler politicians, was thoroughly united.
But that was not enough; ‘we must have a Convention of all the Colonies,’ he would say to his friends; and the measure was recognised by the royalists as ‘of all others the most likely to kindle a general flame.’9
His advice was confirmed by the concurrent opinion of Franklin
to whose ‘greatness’11
he had publicly paid a tribute.
brought even Cushing
to act as one of a select Committee with himself and Heath
; and they sent forth a secret Circular, summoning all the Colonies to be prepared to assert their rights, when time and circumstances should give to their claim the
surest prospect of success.
‘And when we consider,’
they said, ‘how one great event has hurried on after another, such a time may come and such circumstances take place, sooner than we are now aware of.’
They advised to contentment with no temporary relief.
They explained that the King
would certainly maintain the power of Parliament, to extort and to appropriate a tribute from the Colonies; that the connection between Great Britain
should be broken, unless it could be perpetuated on the terms of equal liberty; that the necessary contest must be entered upon, while ‘the ideas of liberty’ were strong in men's minds; and they closed with desiring each Colony to resist the designs of the English Ministry
in allowing the East India Company to ship its teas to America
That Company was already despatching its consignments simultaneously to Charleston
, to Philadelphia
, to New-York
, and to Boston
The system gave universal offence, not only as an enforcement of the tax on tea, but also as an odious monopoly of trade.13 Philadelphia
, the largest town in the Colonies, began the work of prevention.
Its inhabitants met on the eighteenth of October in great numbers at the State House
, and in eight resolutions, denied the claim of Parliament to tax America; specially condemned the duty on tea; declared every one who should directly or indirectly countenance the attempt, an enemy to his country; and requested the agents of the East India Company to resign.
The movement was so general and so commanding,
that the agents, some cheerfully, others
reluctantly, gave up their appointment.14
Within a few days not one remained.
, by her spirit and perseverance, gave now, as she had ever done, evidence that her patriotism would be the support of Union.
The Province was at that time in a state of just excitement at the arbitrary act of its Council in imprisoning Thomas Powell
, the Publisher of the South Carolina
Gazette, for an alleged contempt.
The Council was a body m which the distinguished men of that Province scorned to accept a seat; its members were chiefly the Crown officers; and they held their places at the King
Their power to imprison on their mere warrant was denied; the prisoner was taken before Rawlins Lowndes
and another magistrate on a writ of habeas corpus, and was released.15
The questions involved in the case were discussed with heat; but they did not divert attention from watching the expected tea ships.
The ‘ideas of Liberty’ on which resistance was
to be founded, had taken deep root in a soil which the Circular of Massachusetts
did not reach.
At this moment the people of Illinois
were most opportunely sending their last message respecting their choice of a Government directly to Dartmouth himself.
We have seen how vainly they had reasoned with Gage
for some of the privileges of self-direction.
Here, as on other occasions,
Dartmouth, with the purest intentions, adopted the
policy of his predecessor.
He censured ‘the ideas of the inhabitants of the Illinois District
with regard to a civil Constitution as very extravagant;’ and rejected their proposition to take some part in the election of their rulers,16
as ‘absurd and inadmissible.’
A plan of Government17
was therefore prepared of great simplicity, leaving all power with the executive officers of the Crown, and Gage had been summoned to England
to give advice on the administration of the Colonies, and especially on the mode of governing the West
It was on the fourth of November, that the fathers of the Commonwealth
, through their Agent Daniel Blouin
, forwarded their indignant protest against the proposed form, which they rejected as ‘oppressive and absurd,’ ‘much worse than that of any of the French
or even the Spanish Colonies
‘Should a Government so evidently tyrannical be established,’ such was their language to the British Minister
, ‘it could be of no long duration;’18
there would exist ‘the necessity of its being abolished.’
The words were nobly uttered and were seasonable.
The chord of liberty vibrated on the Illinois
, and the sympathy of the western villages with freedom was an assurance that they too would join the great American
family of Republics.
The issue was to be tried at Boston
; its teaships were on the water; the Governor
himself under the name of his sons was selected as one of the consignees;
the moment for the decision was hastening
on. In the night between the first and second of November, a knock was heard at the door of each one of the persons commissioned by the East India Company, and a summons left for them to appear without fail at Liberty Tree
on the following Wednesday
, at noon, to resign their commission;19
printed notices were also posted up, desiring the freemen of Boston
and the neighboring towns to meet at the same time and place as witnesses.20
On the appointed day, a large flag was hung out on the pole at Liberty Tree
; the bells in the Meetinghouses were rung from eleven till noon.
, three of the four Representatives
of the town of Boston
, the Selectmen
, and William Cooper
with about five hundred more, gathered round the spot.
As the consignees did not make their appearance, the Assembly, appointing Molineux
and others a Committee, marched into State Street to the warehouse of Richard Clarke
, where all the consignees were assembled.
presented himself for a parley.
‘From whom are you a Committee?’
‘From the whole people.’
‘Who are the Committee
’ ‘Nothing is now to be kept secret,’ replied Molineux
; ‘I am one,’ and he named all the rest.
‘And what is your request?’
read a paper, requiring the consignee to promise not to sell the teas, but to return them to London
same bottoms in which they were shipped.
‘I shall have nothing to do with you,’ answered Clarke
, roughly and peremptorily.22
The same question was put to the other consignees, one by one; who each and all answered, ‘I cannot comply with your demand.’
then read another paper, containing a Resolve passed at Liberty Tree
, that the consignees who should refuse to comply with the request of the people, were enemies to their country.
Descending into the street, he made his report to the people.
‘Out with them, out with them,’ was the cry; but he dissuaded from violence.
On the fifth, Boston
in a legal Town Meeting
, with Hancock
for Moderator, adopted the Philadelphia Resolves
, and then sent to invite Thomas and Elisha Hutchinson
to resign their appointment; but they and all the other consignees, declined to do so, in letters addressed to Hancock
, the Moderator
At this, some spoke of ‘taking up arms,’ and the words were received with clapping of hands;23
but the Meeting only voted the answers ‘daringly affrontive,’ and then dissolved itself.24
On the same day the people of New-York
assembled at the call of their Committee of Vigilance.
Let the tea come free or not free of duty, they were absolutely resolved it should not be 25 26
After a few days' reflection, the commis-
sioners for that city, finding the discontent universal, threw up their places; yet the Sons of Liberty continued their watchfulness; a paper signed Legion, ordered the pilots not to bring tea-ships above the Hook; and ‘the Mohawks’ were notified to be in eadiness, in case of their arrival.28
This example renewed the hope, that a similar expedient might succeed in Boston
Members of the Council, of greatest influence, intimated that the best thing that could be done to quiet the people would be the refusal of the consignees to execute the trust; and the merchants, though they declared against mobs and violence, yet as generally wished that the teas might not be landed.29
On Wednesday the seventeenth, a ship which had made a short passage from London
, brought an authentic account that the Boston
tea-ships had sailed; the next day, there was once more a legal Town Meeting
to entreat the consignees to resign.
Upon their repeated refusal, the town passed no vote and uttered no opinion, but immediately broke up. The silence of the dissolution struck more terror than former menaces.
The consignees saw that the legal Town Meeting
had finished its work, and that henceforward they were in the hands of the Committee of Correspondence.
On Monday the twenty-second, the Committees of Dorchester
, and Cambridge
, met the Boston Committee
by invitation 30 31
at the Selectmen's Chamber
in Faneuil Hall.
first question was: ‘Whether it be the mind of this Committee to use their joint influence to prevent the landing and sale of the teas exported from the East India Company?’
And it passed in the affirmative unanimously.
A motion next prevailed unanimously for a letter to be sent by a joint Committee of the five towns to all the other towns in the Province.
‘Brethren,’ they wrote, ‘we are reduced to this dilemma, either to sit down quiet under this and every other burden, that our enemies shall see fit to lay upon us, or to rise up and resist this and every plan laid for our destruction as becomes wise freemen.
In this extremity we earnestly request your advice.’
The Governor in his alarm proposed to flee to ‘the Castle
, where he might with safety to his person more freely give his sense of the criminality of the proceedings.’32
Dissuaded from so abject a display of pusillanimity, he yet never escaped the helpless irresolution of fear.
‘Nothing will satisfy the people, but reshipping the tea to London
,’ said the Boston Selectmen
to the consignees.
‘It is impracticable,’ they answered.
‘Nothing short of it,’ said the Selectmen
, ‘will be satisfactory.
Think, too, of the dreadful consequences that must in all probability ensue on its not being done.’
After much discussing they ‘absolutely promised that when the tea arrived, they would immediately hand in proposals to be laid before the town;’33
negotiating with dishonesty of purpose, only to gain time.
But the true-hearted people were as vigilant as
they were determined.
The men of Cambridge
assembled on the twenty-sixth, and after adopting the Philadelphia Resolves
, ‘very unanimously’ voted, ‘that as Boston
was struggling for the liberties of their country, they could no longer stand idle spectators, but were ready on the shortest notice to join with it and other towns in any measure that might be thought proper, to deliver themselves and posterity from slavery.’34
The next day, the town of Charlestown
assembled and showed such a spirit, that ever after its Committee was added to those who assumed the executive direction.
The combination was hardly finished, when on Sunday, the twenty-eighth of November, the ship Dartmouth
appeared in Boston Harbor
with one hundred and fourteen chests of the East India Company's tea. To keep the Sabbath strictly was the New England
But hours were precious; let the tea be entered, and it would be beyond the power of the consignee to send it back.
The Selectmen held one meeting by day, and another in the evening, but they sought in vain for the consignees, who had taken sanctuary in the Castle
The Committee of Correspondence was more efficient.
They met also on Sunday; and obtained from the Quaker Rotch
, who owned the Dartmouth
, a promise not to enter his ship till Tuesday;36
and authorized Samuel Adams
to invite the Committees of the five surrounding towns, Dorchester
, and Charlestown
, with their
own townsmen and those of Boston
to hold a Mass Meeting the next morning.
Faneuil Hall could not contain the people, that poured in on Monday.
The concourse was the largest ever known.
Adjourning to ‘the Old South’ Meeting-house
, Jonathan Williams
did not fear to act as Moderator, nor Samuel Adams
, Young, Molineux
, and Warren37
to conduct the business of the meeting.
On the motion of Samuel Adams
, who entered fully into the question, the Assembly, composed of upwards of five thousand persons, resolved unanimously, that ‘the tea should be sent back to the place from whence it came at all events, and that no duty should be paid on it.’
‘The only way to get rid of it’ said Young, ‘is to throw it overboard.’38
The consignees asked for time to prepare their answer; and ‘out of great tenderness’ the body postponed receiving it to the next morning.
Meantime the owner and master of the ship were convented and forced to promise not to land the tea. A watch was also proposed.
‘I,’ said Hancock
, ‘will be one of it, rather than that there should be none,’39
and a party of twenty-five persons under the orders of Edward Proctor
as its Captain
, was appointed to guard the tea-ship during the night.
On the same day, the Council who had been solicited by the Governor
and the consignees to assume the guardianship of the tea, coupled their refusal with a reference to the declared opinion of both branches of the General Court, that the tax upon it
by Parliament was unconstitutional.40
morning the consignees jointly gave as their answer: ‘It is utterly out of our power to send back the teas; but we now declare to you our readiness to store them until we shall receive further directions from our constituents;’41
that is, until they could notify the British Government
The wrath of the Meeting was kindling, when the Sheriff
entered with a Proclamation from the Governor
, ‘warning, exhorting and requiring them, and each of them there unlawfully assembled, forthwith to disperse, and to surcease all further unlawful proceedings at their utmost peril.’
The words were received with hisses, derision, and a unanimous vote not to disperse.
‘Will it be safe for the consignees to appear in the Meeting?’
; and all with one voice responded, that they might safely come and return; but they refused to appear.
In the afternoon Rotch
the owner, and Hall
the master of the Dartmouth
, yielding to an irresistible impulse, engaged that the tea should return as it came, without touching land or paying a duty.
A similar promise was exacted of the owners of the other tea-ships whose arrival was daily expected.
In this way ‘it was thought the matter would have ended.’42
‘I should be willing to spend my fortune and life itself in so good a cause,’43
, and this sentiment was general; they all voted ‘to carry their Resolutions into effect at the risk of their lives and property.’
Every ship owner was forbidden on pain of be-
ing deemed an enemy to the country to import or bring as freight any tea from Great Britain
, till the unrighteous Act taxing it should be repealed, and this vote was printed and sent to every sea-port in the Province, and to England
Six persons were chosen as post-riders, to give due notice to the country towns of any attempt to land the tea by force, and the Committee of Correspondence, as the executive organ of the Meeting, took care that a military watch was regularly kept up by volunteers armed with muskets and bayonets, who at every half hour in the night regularly passed the word ‘all is well,’ like sentinels in a garrison.
Had they been molested by night, the tolling of the bells would have been the signal for a general uprising.
An account of all that had been done, was sent into every town in the Province.
The ships after landing the rest of their cargo,
could neither be cleared in Boston
with the tea on board, nor be entered in England
, and on the twentieth day from their arrival would be liable to seizure.
‘They find themselves,’ said Hutchinson
, ‘involved in invincible difficulties.’
Meantime in private letters he advised to separate Boston
from the rest of the Province; and to commence criminal prosecutions against its patriot sons.44
The spirit of the people rose with the emergency.
Two more tea-ships which arrived were directed to anchor by the side of the Dartmouth
's wharf, that one guard might serve for all. The peopie
on the third of December, voted that
they were bound by duty to themselves and posterity to join with Boston
and other sister towns, to preserve inviolate the liberties handed down by their ancestors.
The next day the men of Charlestown
, as if foreseeing that their town was destined to be a holocaust, declared themselves ready to risk their lives and fortunes.
On Sunday, the fifth, the Committee of Correspondence wrote to Portsmouth
in New Hampshire
, to Providence
, and Newport
in Rhode Island
, for advice and co-operation.
On the sixth, they entreat New-York
, through MacDougall
, through Mifflin
, to insure success by ‘a harmony of sentiment and concurrence in action.’45
As for Boston
itself, the twenty days are fast running out; the consignees conspire with the Revenue officers to throw on the owner and master of the Dartmouth
the whole burden of landing the tea, and will neither agree to receive it, nor give up their bill of lading, nor pay the freight.46
Every movement was duly reported,47
and ‘the town became as furious as in the time of the Stamp Act.’48
On the ninth, there was a vast gathering at Newburyport
, of the inhabitants of that and the neighboring towns, and none dissenting, they agreed to assist Boston
, even at the hazard of their lives.
‘This is not a piece of parade;’ they say, ‘but if an occasion should offer, a goodly number from among us will hasten to join you.’49
On Saturday the eleventh, Rotch
, the owner of
, is summoned before the Boston Committee
with Samuel Adams
in the Chair; and asked why he has not kept his engagement, to take his vessel and the tea back to London
, within twenty days of its arrival.
He pleaded that it was out of his power.
‘The ship must go,’ was the50
answer; ‘the people of Boston
and the neighboring towns, absolutely require and expect it;’ and they bade him ask for a clearance and pass, with proper witnesses of his demand.
‘Were it mine,’ said a leading merchant, ‘I would certainly send it back.’
acquainted Admiral Montagu
with what was passing; on which the Active
and the Kingfisher
, though they had been laid up for the winter, were sent to guard the passages out of the harbor.
At the same time orders were given by the Governor
to load guns at the Castle
, so that no vessel, except coasters, might go to sea without a permit.
He had no thought of what was to happen; the wealth of Hancock
, and so many other men of property, seemed to him a security against violence;51
and he flattered himself,52
that he had increased the perplexities of the Committee
The decisive day draws nearer and nearer; on the morning of Monday, the thirteenth, the Committees of the five towns are at Faneuil Hall, with that of Boston
Now that danger was really at hand, the men of the little town of Malden
blood and their treasure; for that which they once
esteemed the Mother Country
, had lost the tenderness of a parent, and become their great oppressor.53
—‘We trust in God,’ wrote the men of Lexington
, ‘that should the state of our affairs require it, we shall be ready to sacrifice our estates and every thing dear in life, yea, and life itself, in support of the common cause.’54
—Whole towns in Worcester County
were on tiptoe to come down.55
‘Go on, as you have begun,’ wrote the Committee
on the fourteenth; ‘and do not suffer any of the teas already come or coming to be landed, or pay one farthing of duty.
You may depend on our aid and assistance when needed.’56
The line of policy adopted was, if possible, to get the tea carried back to London
uninjured in the vessel in which it came.
A Meeting of the people on Tuesday afternoon directed and as it were ‘compelled’ Rotch
, the owner of the Dartmouth
, to apply for a clearance.
He did so, accompanied by Kent
, Samuel Adams
, and eight others as witnesses.
The Collector was at his lodgings, and refused to answer till the next morning; the Assemblage, on their part, adjourned to Thursday the sixteenth, the last of the twenty days, before it would become legal for the Revenue officers to take possession of the ship, and so land the teas at the Castle
In the evening, the Boston Committee
finished their preparatory Meetings.
After their consultation on Monday with the Committee
of the five towns, they had been together that day and the next, both morning
and evening; but during the long and anxious period,
their Journal has only this entry: ‘No business transacted, matter of record.’57
At ten o'clock on the fifteenth, Rotch
was escorted by his witnesses to the Custom-house
, where the Collector
and Comptroller unequivocally and finally refused to grant his ship a clearance, till it should be discharged of the teas.
began to clutch at victory; for, said he, it is notorious the ship cannot pass the Castle
without a permit from me, and that I shall refuse.
On that day, the people of Fitchburg
pledged their word ‘never to be wanting according to their small ability;’ for ‘they had indeed an ambition to be known to the world and to posterity as friends to liberty.’
The men of Gloucester
also expressed their joy at Boston
's glorious opposition, cried with one voice that ‘no tea subject to a duty should be landed in their town,’ and held themselves ready for the last appeal.
The morning of Thursday the sixteenth of December, 1773, dawned upon Boston
, a day by far the most momentous in its annals.
Beware, little town; count the cost, and know well, if you dare defy the wrath of Great Britain
, and if you love exile and poverty and death rather than submission.
The town of Portsmouth
held its Meeting on that morning, and, with six only protesting, its people adopted the principles of Philadelphia
, appointed their Committee of Correspondence, and resolved to make common cause with the Colonies.
o'clock the people of Boston
with at least two thou-
sand men from the country, assembled in the Old South.
A report was made that Rotch
had been refused a clearance from the Collector
‘Then,’ said they to him, ‘protest immediately against the Custom-house
, and apply to the Governor
for his pass, so that your vessel may this very day proceed on her voyage for London
The Governor had stolen away to his country house at Milton
make all haste, the Meeting adjourned to three in the afternoon.
At that hour Rotch
had not returned.
It was incidentally voted, as other towns had already done, to abstain totally from the use of tea; and every town was advised to appoint its Committee of inspection, to prevent the detested tea from coming within any of them.
Then, since the Governor
might refuse his pass, the momentous question recurred, ‘Whether it be the sense and determination of this body to abide by their former Resolutions with respect to the not suffering the tea to be landed.’
On this question Samuel Adams
addressed the Meeting, which was become far the most numerous ever held in Boston
, embracing seven thousand men.59
There was among them a patriot of fervid feeling; passionately devoted to the liberty of his country; still young; his eye bright, his cheek glowing with hectic fever.
He knew that his strength was ebbing.
The work of vindicating American freedom must be done soon, or he will be no party to the great achievement.
He rises, but it is to restrain, and
being truly brave and truly resolved, he speaks
the language of moderation: ‘Shouts and hosannas will not terminate the trials of this day, nor popular resolves, harangues, and acclamations vanquish our foes.
We must be grossly ignorant of the value of the prize for which we contend, of the power combined against us, of the inveterate malice and insatiable revenge which actuate our enemies, public and private, abroad and in our bosom, if we hope that we shall end this controversy without the sharpest conflicts.
Let us consider the issue, before we advance to those measures, which must bring on the most trying and terrible struggle this country ever saw.’
Thus spoke the younger Quincy
‘Now that the hand is to the plough,’ said others, ‘there must be no looking back,’60
and the whole Assembly of seven thousand voted unanimously that the tea should not be landed.
It had been dark for more than an hour.
in which they met was dimly lighted; when at a quarter before six Rotch
appeared, and satisfied the people by relating that the Governor
had refused him a pass, because his ship was not properly cleared.
As soon as he had finished his report, Samuel Adams
rose and gave the word: ‘This Meeting can do nothing more to save the country.’61
On the instant a shout was heard at the porch; the warwhoop resounded; a body of men, forty or fifty62
in number, disguised as Indians
, passed by the door; and encouraged by Samuel Adams
and others, repaired to Griffin
's wharf, posted guards to
prevent the intrusion of spies, took possession of the
three tea-ships, and in about three hours, three hundred and forty chests of tea, being the whole quantity that had been imported, were emptied into the bay without the least injury to other property.
‘All things were conducted with great order, decency, and perfect submission to government.’63
The people around, as they looked on, were so still, that the noise of breaking open the tea-chests64
was plainly heard.
A delay of a few hours would have placed the tea under the protection of the Admiral
at the Castle
After the work was done, the town became as still and calm, as if it had been holy time.
The men from the country that very night carried back the great news to their villages.
The next morning the Committee of Correspondence appointed Samuel Adams
and four others, to draw up a declaration of what had been done.
They sent Paul Revere
as express with the information to New-York
The height of joy that sparkled in the eyes and animated the countenances and the hearts of the patriots as they met one another, is unimaginable.65
The Governor, meantime, was consulting his books and his lawyers to make out, that the Resolves of the meeting were treasonable.
Threats were muttered of arrests; of executions; of transportation of the accused to England
; while the Committee of Correspondence pledged themselves to support and vindicate each other and all persons who had shared in their effort.
The country was united with the town,
and the Colonies with one another more firmly than
unanimously approved what Boston
had done.67 New-York
all impatient at the winds which had driven its tea-ship off the coast, was resolved on following the example.
In South Carolina
the ship with two hundred and fifty-seven chests of tea, arrived on the second of December; the spirit of opposition ran very high; but the consignees were persuaded to resign, so that though the Collector
after the twentieth day seized the dutiable article, there was no one to vend it or to pay the duty, and it perished in the cellars where it was stored.
Late on Saturday, the twenty-fifth, news reached Philadelphia
, that its tea-ship was at Chester
It was met four miles below the town, where it came to anchor.
On Monday, at an hour's notice, five thousand men collected in a Town Meeting
; at their instance, the consignee who came as passenger resigned; and the Captain
agreed to take his ship and cargo directly back to London
; and to sail the very next day.69
‘The Ministry had chosen the most effectual measures to unite the Colonies.
The Boston Committee were already in close correspondence with the other New England
Colonies, with New-York
Old jealousies were removed and perfect harmony subsisted between all.’70
‘The heart of the King
was hardened against them like that of Pharaoh;’71
and none believed he would relent.
therefore, was the cry; a union which should reach ‘from Florida
to the icy plains’ of Canada
‘No time is to be lost,’ said the Boston Press
; ‘a Congress or a Meeting of the American States
is indispensable; and what the people wills, shall be effected.’72 Samuel Adams
was in his glory.73
He had led Boston
to be foremost in duty, and cheerfully offer itself as a sacrifice for the liberties of mankind.