THE BOSTON TEA PARTY


 

In  1773, Parliment enacted yet another tax on the Colonist.  This time, the British taxed Tea by way of the Tea Act.  It was  designed to allow the  English Tea company to bypass middlemen and sell directly to American retailers.  When news of this Act reached the colonist, many were extremely angered.

When the first ship, the Dartmouth, reached Boston with a cargo of tea on November 27, 1773, the Committee of Correspondence and the Sons of Liberty prevented owner Francis Rotch from unloading the tea, but they could not force those who bought the tea to reject it. Rotch and the captains of two newly arrived ships, the Eleanor and the Beaver, agreed to leave without unloading the tea, but they were denied clearance by Governor Hutchinson.

According to the law, if the tea was not unloaded within 20 days (by December 17), it was to be seized and sold to pay custom duties. Convinced that this procedure would still be payment of unconstitutional  taxes, the radical patriots resolved to break the deadlock.

Everywhere there was opposition to landing the taxed tea and on December 16th, a crowd of several thousand persons assembled in the Faneuil Hall-Old South Church area and shouted encouragement to about 60 men disguised as Mohawk Indians, who boarded the three ships at Griffin's wharf.  With the aid of the ships' crew, the ìIndiansî tossed 342 chests of tea, valued at £18,000 into Boston Bay. The furious royal government responded to this "Boston Tea Party" by the so-called Intolerable Acts of 1774, practically eliminating self-government in Massachusetts and closing Boston's port.