Boston Tea Party Program

Revolutionary Spaces presents

Boston Tea Party 249th Anniversary Commemoration

Friday, December 16, 2022


Tap below for historical and behind-the-scenes info about tonight’s presentation.


1773
January 14

East India Company in Trouble

East India Company in Trouble

East India shares plunge on the London Stock Exchange. Tea Act duties have nearly bankrupted the company, nearly 17 million pounds of tea “spilling out of London warehouses.” East India Company asks Lord North to repeal the Tea duty and North replied by saying that it would be a sign of weakness to repeal it.

May 10

Tea Act of 1773

Tea Act of 1773

The Tea Act of 1773 passed, keeping the 3-penny tax on tea. When tea arrives in the colonies, the consignees must now pay the entire duty on the tea BEFORE the tea can be landed. The consignees for Boston were Richard Clarke & Sons, Benjamin Faneuil, Jr, Joshua Winslow, Thomas Hutchinson, Jr, and his brother, Elisha (sons of Royal Governor, Thomas Hutchinson).

November 3

Consignees Warned

Consignees Warned

In Boston, the consignees are delivered anonymous summonses, ordering them to the Liberty Tree the following day to publicly resign their commissions.

November 4

Merchants Threatened

Merchants Threatened

Hancock, Adams, Molineux, and Warren go to the Liberty Tree, waiting for the Hutchinsons and other merchants to come down. They sent word refusing. A mob proceeded to Hutchinson’s building, destroyed the first floor, but were unable to breach the 2nd floor where everyone was barricaded.

November 18

Clarke’s House Attacked

Clarke’s House Attacked

Sons of Liberty gathered at the Liberty Tree again requesting the resignation of the agents. Again, they refused. The mobs paid a visit to Clarke’s house, breaking window frames, windows, damaging furniture and injuring a few occupants.

November 27

Dartmouth in Boston

Dartmouth in Boston

The Dartmouth anchors outside of Boston Harbor with 114 chests of East India Company Tea onboard. The Patriots demand that the tea be sent back to England. The tea may not be landed, as the consignees will then need to pay the fee and it will find its way into the merchants’ hands. Customs officials may seize the goods if this payment is not made within 20 days. The deadline for the cargo of the Dartmouth is December 17.

November 29

Adams’ Proposal

Adams’ Proposal

The broadside reading, “Friends, Brethren, Countrymen…” appears around Boston, urging people to attend a town meeting that day concerning the tea. Several hundred people swells to nearly 5,000, moving from Faneuil Hall to Old South Meeting House. Young proposes throwing the tea in the harbor. Adams proposes not allowing the tea to be offloaded. The Adams proposal is passed.

November 30

Tea Blocked

Tea Blocked

The Town Meeting resumes at Old South Meeting House, voted again to block landing of the tea, sending reports to other cities and London.

December 3

Hutchinson’s Ultimatum

Hutchinson’s Ultimatum

Hancock sends his agents to New York and Philadelphia with news. Hutchinson responds with telling the ships they cannot leave the harbor until their owners pay the duties.

December 7

Three Ships in the Harbor

Three Ships in the Harbor

The Dartmouth remained at anchor for 3 days before docking at Griffin’s Wharf. A few days later, the 2nd of 4 Boston-bound ships, the Eleanor, ties up beside the Dartmouth. The 3rd ship, the brig Beaver, is held in quarantine for 8 days due to a smallpox outbreak. The 4th ship, the William, ran aground in Provincetown, thus never making it to Boston Harbor.

December 16

Destruction of the Tea

Destruction of the Tea

More than 5,000 people from Boston and the surrounding areas pushed their way into Old South Meeting House. The Sons of Liberty demand that Francis Rotch send his vessel back to London, but says they won’t let him pass without paying the duty. The meeting adjourned until 3 pm after sending Rotch to demand safe passage for his ship from Governor Hutchinson. Finally at 5:45pm Rotch reappeared with the Governor’s decision. Rotch stated that Governor Hutchinson had rejected Boston’s demands to send the ships away, and asserted that the meeting had no legal standing. Adams adjourns the meeting, saying “This meeting can do nothing more to save this country!”, presumed to be a code to start the tea destruction. Hundreds of men loosely disguised as “Mohawks” descended upon Griffin’s Wharf. With some faces blackened by soot, caped and cloaked, the men boarded the three ships and in three hours time, proceeded to dump 340 crates into Boston Harbor.

Tap for details.

Ladies of Boston

Explore what people in Boston might feel about the tax on tea and the best way forward for the colony.

 

  • Even with the tea tax, the tea is cheaper than it has ever been before! It is even cheaper than the smuggled Dutch tea available in the colonies.
  • The tea tax is minimal!
    • It is the only tax remaining out of many that were passed by Parliament in the 1760s. All other taxes were rescinded when they proved ruinous to the colonies; the three pence per pound tax can hardly be termed ruinous!
  • Taxation is the right of every government!
    • Taxes have always existed and will always exist!
  • All Englishmen pay taxes!
    • Along with the rights and privileges of being an Englishman comes the duty and responsibility of paying taxes.
  • This tax strengthens our relationship with England and the Empire and benefits us directly!
    • We receive the protection of the British military—the strongest military force in the world! This military force protected us from French attempts to take the colonies in the French-Indian War.
    • British troops protect us as well from native peoples who are still allied with the French, and who continue to terrorize us along our frontier borders.
    • The tax pays for administrators to run the colonies.
    • As part of the British Empire, we maintain a special trade status; we receive the highest quality of goods from England, and are able to trade with all areas of the Empire with few import duties.
  • We are all Englishmen, and are represented in Parliament.
    • It is unreasonable to suggest that colonists are not represented in Parliament. It is well known that Parliament does not provide for geographic representation, but that there is virtual representation! Virtual representation states that the members of Parliament spoke for the interests of all British subjects rather than for the interests of only the district that elected them.
    • Entire cities in England—Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, and Liverpool—do not have representation!
    • Mr. Franklin and others in England convey our ideas and needs to Parliament.
    • Besides being treasonous, the talk of breaking up the Empire is unreasonable. Locke wrote that only an unresponsive government should be overthrown; Parliament has proven to be responsive by rescinding taxes and other policies that the colonists objected to. There should be no loose talk about leaving the Empire.
  • The East India Company is a beneficial monopoly.
    • The tea is cheaper now because Parliament is helping the East India Company remain solvent.
    • Were the East India Company to go bankrupt, it could cause widespread economic depression throughout the Empire.
  • The tea tax, despite its small amount, is outrageous.
    • The tax pays the salaries of administrators, most of whom are foreign-born, to run our government. They have no responsibility or loyalty toward the people whom they govern. They are unaware of local needs, not used to our local customs, and insensitive to our local talents!
    • It is not the amount of the tax, but the principle. Other outrageous taxes were enacted in the past and were proven to be ruinous. This tax is no different!
  • The tax creates a monopoly.
    • Only seven men control the selling of tea in Boston. If this monopoly is sustained, what will be next? Iron? Lead? Paint? Glass? Merchants will be driven out of business!
    • The tax is simply to provide revenue to keep the East India Company afloat!
    • The restrictive taxes have hampered merchants by forcing them to do business outside of the Empire, in some cases forcing them to become smugglers to stay in business!
  • The colonies are an important part of the Empire.
    • We are an economically important colony, but are not treated as such.
    • American colonial free trade with other countries will enrich and strengthen the Empire as a whole. Parliament must think in the long term.
    • We are Englishmen in America, and are reputed to have the rights of Englishmen, but these are not respected.
  • The colonies are not represented in Parliament.
    • There is no opportunity for our ideas to be expressed in Parliament. We have no say in how and on what we are taxed.
    • We have been forced to govern ourselves for over 100 years due to Imperial neglect, and now the war debts suddenly make them remember, regulate, and tax us!
  • The soldiers in Boston are a menace to us!
    • They have always contributed more to the unrest than the peace. (Remember the Boston Massacre?!)
    • The presence of soldiers was forced on the people of Boston, and not requested by the assembly. Why pay for unwanted tormentors?

Built in 1729, Old South Meeting House has been an important gathering place for nearly three centuries. The largest building in colonial Boston, it was the site of the most dramatic and stirring mass meetings leading to the American Revolution.

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