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The Boston Tea Party

December 15, 2011 by  

In the early 1770s, the patriot movement was slowly gaining steam in the colonies. People like Samuel Adams were looking for ways to bolster the movement and resist what they saw as English tyranny.

The Boston Non-Importation Agreement — in which area merchants pledged not to buy certain goods from Great Britain, including tea — had collapsed. Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson, whose salary as Governor was augmented by bribes for allowing the smuggling of tea in addition to the British Parliament-imposed tax on tea, wanted to capitalize on the tea business even more. Estimates at the time indicated Americans consumed between 3 million and 6.5 million pounds of tea each year.

Hutchinson owned considerable stock in the East India Company in 1771. But the company, once second in size only to the Bank of England among Britain’s financial institutions, was near bankruptcy. So the company raised the price on tea to 3 shillings a pound. Then, in 1773, Parliament rewarded the company by granting it a monopoly, allowing it to handle both the shipping and the sales of tea to the colonies. While this would lower prices, English and American traders would be stripped of a great source of revenue. Hutchinson, his two sons and his son-in-law were granted exclusive rights to trade the tea in the colonies.

Colonists were outraged, and Adams had a new drum to beat: If the Crown could apply this new method of favoritism to tea, it could apply it to all commodities.

In late November 1773, three cargo ships carrying tea arrived in Boston Harbor. A couple of weeks before, a group of patriots and merchants called the North End Caucus had voted to deny any landing of tea shipped by the East India Company. A confrontation was looming.

Boston patriots had no desire to hurt the ship owners. Their beef was with the Crown and the East India Company. They encouraged the owner of one of the ships, 23-year-old Francis Rotch, to take his tea cargo elsewhere. But, once docked, the Custom House would not allow the ship to leave until the duty was paid on the tea. Rotch petitioned the customs officer and Hutchinson for relief numerous times to no avail. He was stuck.

If he tried to leave, he told the patriots, the British Navy would either sink his ship or confiscate it and its load. Either would ruin him. However, a deadline was drawing near. Rotch had until Dec. 17 to pay his duty or His Majesty’s warships would intercede.

On Dec. 16, Adams suggested Rotch appeal to Hutchinson one more time. When Rotch returned unsuccessfully late that afternoon to Old South Church, where a group of Bostonians had gathered, Adams gave a signal, and a war whoop sounded from the gallery. Forty or 50 men dressed as Indians burst inside and began shouting, “The Mohawks are come!” and “Hurray for Griffins Wharf!” Those who knew the evening’s plan shouted “Boston harbor a teapot tonight!”

They headed toward the wharf and along the way were joined by dozens of others, some dressed as Indians with faces darkened and others with no disguise at all. They boarded three vessels and began breaking open boxes of tea and throwing them over the sides.

At anchor a few hundred yards away, British sailors watched the destruction from their ships. The “Mohawks” didn’t know the admiral had no orders to stop them and feared harming innocents if he fired his guns in the direction of the wharf. They worked methodically, but quickly, and destroyed all the tea on board the three ships.

When news of the destruction reached Great Britain, even America’s oldest friend in Parliament, William Pitt, was appalled. He considered it a criminal act.

But back in the colonies, tea agents resigned and tea began rotting in cellars. A complete ban on the sale and consumption of English tea in the colonies was in place.

Source: Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution, by A.J. Langguth

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • Amy Aremia

    Formerly no one was allowed to think freely; now it is permitted, but no one is capable of it anymore. Now people want to think only what they are supposed to think—and this they call freedom…
    (Oswald Spengler(1880 – 1936)

    We may have one more chance to return to our Constitutiona Republic–if each Congressional District unite and form a concerted effort to find a truly American Patriot who will abide by the Constitution, camaign and elect him/her to Congress. This is the only way to overthrow the infiltrators who are destroying our Constitution..

  • http://na Jim

    Good story. I remember studing this in school but forgot the details. I don’t think we have enough people in our country who believe that strong about things. Plus you would be considered a terrorist and disappear for ever.

    On another note could you imagine something like that with coffe today? Holly you know what I would go mad.

    • Alex Frazier

      The irony is that we drink coffee today because of the boycott on tea. :o) If we boycotted coffee, we’d find a substitute.

      But we’ll need something much more significant than a coffee boycott to stir the hornets’ nest this time. Can’t wait to see what it is when the government finally pushes a few individuals just a little too far.

  • Robert Smith

    There are strong Masonic connections to the Boston Tea Party. Details can easily be googled. Much of the lack of violence was attributed to arrangements made through Masonic channels so nobody was hurt.

    BTW, both George Washington and Ben Franklen were Masons.


    • s c

      r, are you assuming that 18th century Masonry and today’s Masonry are the same? First, compare and contrast America’s 18th century constitutional, limited Republican government with what we have now, and extrapolate. If you then compare and contrast 18th century Masonry with that which exists today . . .
      Food for thought, eh? Things change, r. Leadership now is just a word. One thing that is sadly lacking in America today is leadership that HAS NOT BEEN BOUGHT.

      • Joe H.

        Off topic, but they are doing it again at Fox!! they are very anti Paul! He went over on his time and Brett Baier called him on it! The very next speaker, Santorum went even further over on his time and Brett said nothing. Others went over and Brett said nothing. Later, Dr. Paul went a little over again and Brett said “I think we have been more than lenient on the time bell”. He is being VERY disrespectful to him!! I pray that IN SPITE OF THESE NEWSHAWKS that Dr. Paul wins the nomination!!! Fox is getting more and more like the Alphabets every day!!

      • Robert Smith

        From s c: “If you then compare and contrast 18th century Masonry with that which exists today . . .”

        How you mand “different?” Please be specific.

        Oh! I know one difference… Then they didn’t have Shriners Hospitals to help take care of kids. Did you know
        that the Shriners are a club of Masons doing a lot of good for kids?

        BTW Georld Ford was a Mason, as were Roosevelt, Truman, and Johnson.


    • http://deleted Claire

      Robert Smith–My husband has been a Mason for over 50 years. And I dare anyone to speak ill of my husband. He is an honest and decent guy and I thank God I married him. We will hit 52 years next Tuesday. My, how the time has flown by.

      • Joe H.

        my father was a mason for 50 years, as well. He was ACTIVe for over 45 years. I would dare any here to find one thing connecting him to scullduggery!! He was a good man who would help ANYONE in need !!

        • Robert Smith

          Hi Joe,

          Posted: “I would dare any here to find one thing connecting him to scullduggery!!”

          The Boston Tea Party wasn’t “scullduggery.” It was a well planned, bloodless, spark (one of several) that helped put the Colonies on the path to being the Unted States of America.


          • Joe H.

            Read REAL close, robbie, I said NOTHING in my post about the tea party. I only posted on the MASONS. NOW do you get it???

      • Robert Smith

        I sincerely hope that your husband is proud of the Masonic herritage and the impact the Craft has had on American history. It truly is something to be proud of.


  • Buddy

    Evidently, a bunch of guys in costumes boarded a privately owned ship, dumped privately owned cargo over board because a government had put a presumably erroneous tax on the cargo and we’re supposed to celebrate this terrorist act.

    Sounds really appropriate.

    • Bob Livingston

      Dear Buddy,

      No, it was actually a rejection of crony capitalism, non-representative government and tyranny.

      Best wishes,

    • Martha

      I think you need to study the article again, since you evidently didn’t learn the meaning while in school. It was NOT about the taxes, but was about the government allowing the monopoly of the tea trade one ONE preferred company. This is the problem with health insurance today. Too many states will not allow ALL insurance to cross state lines, hence giving a monopoly to (usually BC/BS) their favored company. And probably favored thanks to pay offs. It’s the problem with a lot of companies as a matter of fact. I had that problem with AT&T when I moved to NC. Sorry service, high rates, ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. Now that another company is finally moving in, maybe the service will improve. If not, I’ll switch to the other company! Unfortunately, these services do not have a ‘cargo’ that can be dumped overboard like the tea was.

      • Robert Smith

        Martha says: “This is the problem with health insurance today.”

        Actually that isn’t the prblem with health insurance. The problems are high cost and that not all Americans can access the health care system because of that.

        Universal single payer health care for all would reduce the high cost by not paying executives high saleries and bonuses while actually getting bids for things rather than going with the Bush no bid system.


        • Joe H.

          Yeah, robbie, it’s so good that Canada is considering going back to a private insured program, and England’s plan is bankrupting the country!!! It is so good for the patients that they come HERE to access specialists in time to be treated, unlike Canada where you might waight 8 to ten weeks to see an oncologist for cancer treatment, which could just be a death sentence after that long in the case of a very agressive cancer!

          • Robert Smith

            Joe H. asks: “it’s so good that Canada is considering going back to a private insured program,”

            Because some right wing entramanures want to get that profit stream back following the Bush pattern of no bid contracts on drugs, etc.


    • Vigilant

      “It was a well known fact that John Hancock had made his fortune through smuggling Dutch tea, which was cheaper than East Indian tea. A commonly forgotten fact is that East Indian prices were cut before the introduction of the three pence tax, in effect making its price, even with the tax, cheaper than Hancock’s tea. Presented with this information, many loyalists did not wonder at Hancock’s involvement in the boycotting of East Indian tea and indeed, the entire war.”


  • Levada

    It occurs to me that we should have a “plastic party”. Let the faux Mohawks dump a ship load of Chinese plastic crap (probably manufactured with nice toxic components like lead paint). It would be a nice protest to the flood of horrible products that have taken away so many American jobs.

    Buy American this Christmas!

    • Vigilant

      Nah…the wacko environmentalists wouldn’t allow the dumping of toxics in our waters….

    • http://deleted Claire

      Levada—I am with you 100%. Buy American, this is what I do and will continue doing. If it says “Made in China” or somewhere else, I put it back on the shelf. If I can’t find the same item made in America, then I do without.

      • Alex Frazier

        I bet that leaves you doing without quite a bit, since America hardly produces squat, and the greater majority of consumer products in the retail stores are made in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

    • Joe H.

      Yup thats right, poison one of the sources of our food even worse. THINK before you make decisions.


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