Mandeville, LA – “I was asked on-air today what would get people motivated to “do something” about ObamaCare, The NSA et cetera, et cetra. I answered the query by explaining that there was no right answer and then proceeded to prove this by retelling the events of The Boston Tea Party. On 16 December, 1773, 25 or so men, dressed as Indians, snuck onto the wharves of Boston Harbor, stole their way aboard ships they knew to be carrying the India Company’s main trade: tea. The republic’s first historian, the first lady of the Revolution, Mercy Otis Warren(1) narrates what happened next.” (emphasis in bold-mine-MC)
Editor’s Note: this was originally published on 16 January, 2014.
Amidst this suspense [of the ships carrying the hated, taxed, tea] a rumour was circulated, that admiral Montague was about to seize the ships, and dispose of their cargoes at public auction, within twenty-four hours. This step would as effectually have secured the duties [taxes], as if sold at the shops of the consignees, and was judged to be only a finesse, to place them there on their own terms. On this report, convinced of the necessity of preventing so bold an attempt, a vast body of people convened suddenly and repaired to one of the largest and most commodious churches in Boston; where, previous to any other steps, many fruitless messages were sent both to the governor and the consignees, whose timidity had prompted them to a seclusion from the public eye. Yet they continued to refuse any satisfactory answer; and while the assembled multitude were in quiet consultation on the safest mode to prevent the sale and consumption of an herb, noxious at least to the political constitution, the debates were interrupted by the entrance of the sheriff with an order from the governor, styling them an illegal assembly, and directing their immediate dispersion.
This authoritative mandate was treated with great contempt, and the sheriff instantly hissed out of the house. A confused murmur ensued, both within and without the walls; but in a few moments all was again quiet, and the leaders of the people returned calmly to the point in question. Yet every expedient seemed fraught with insurmountable difficulties, and evening approaching without any decided resolutions, the meeting was adjourned without day.
Within an hour after this was known abroad, there appeared a great number of persons, clad like the aborigines of the wilderness, with tomahawks in their hands, and clubs on their shoulders, who without the least molestation marched through the streets with silent solemnity, and amidst innumerable spectators, proceeded to the wharves, boarded the ships, demanded the keys, and with much deliberation knocked open the chests, and emptied several thousand weight of the finest teas into the ocean. No opposition was made, though surrounded by the king’s ships; all was silence and dismay.
This done, the procession returned through the town in the same order and solemnity as observed in the outset of their attempt. No other disorder took place, and it was observed, the stillest night ensued that Boston had enjoyed for many months. This unexpected event struck the ministerial party with rage and astonishment; while, as it seemed to be an attack upon private property, many who wished well to the public cause could not fully approve of the measure. Yet perhaps the laws of self-preservation might justify the deed, as the exigencies of the times required extraordinary exertions, and every other method had been tried in vain, to avoid this disagreeable alternative. Besides it was alleged, and doubtless it was true, the people were ready to make ample compensation for all damages sustained, whenever the unconstitutional duty should be taken off, and other grievances radically redressed.
The result of this event was not predicted, planned or even desired by Samuel Adams and co. viz the King closed the Port of Boston, dissolved all “Patriot Assemblies” and placed the town under a de facto martial law. This in turn ignited outrage in Virginia, which led to their assembly being dissolved and soon, the First Continental Congress meeting at Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia. The “moral” of this story is explained in today’s Mike Church Show “Audio Clip of The Day”.
1. Warren, Mercy Otis, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 107-108