Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Boston Tea Party

In Boston the duty was circumvented by merchants getting tea which was smuggled by Dutch traders. This raised quite an uproar in the colonies so the act was repealed in 1770, all except the duty on tea, which was retained to prove that Parliament could raise revenue by taxing without the approval of the colonists. In 1767 British Parliament passed the Townshend Acts, a duty (tax) on various products imported by the colonists.

The early settlers in the British colonies were great tea drinkers and Britain was immersed in financial difficulties at the time.
It allowed tea to be shipped only in East India Company ships and consigned tea to its own special agents in the colonies who could undersell the colonial merchant who had bought his tea through a middleman or Dutch smugglers at much higher prices. The Tea Act passed a duty on tea and provided for a monopoly on all tea exported to the colonies. Then in 1773 Parliament passed the Tea Act designed to aid the East India Tea Company which was on the verge of bankruptcy with loads of tea they were unable to sell.
(No taxation without representation.) Much of the ballyhoo was about Britain taxing the colonists without them having a say. And it created a monopoly for the East India Company. It would reduce already established colonial merchants to ruin. Even though Britain was offering tea to the colonies at a cheaper price than they could get it and thought the colonists would favor this, (wrong) it caused quite a rant among the colonists.
In New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston, tea agents resigned and canceled orders. In some ports they refused to pay the tax or offload ships. There was a boycott on tea with women becoming leaders in the movement.
A Lady's Adieu to Her Tea-Table FAREWELL the Tea-board with your gaudy attire,
Ye cups and ye saucers that I did admire;
To my cream pot and tongs I now bid adieu;
That pleasure's all fled that I once found in you.
Farewell pretty chest that so lately did shine,
With hyson and congo and best double fine;
Many a sweet moment by you I have sat,
Hearing girls and old maids to tattle and chat;
And the spruce coxcomb laugh at nothing at all,
Only some silly work that might happen to fall.
No more shall my teapot so generous be
In fillin the cups with this pernicious tea,
For I'll fill it with water and drink out the same,
Before I'll lose LIBERTY that dearest name,
Because I am taught (and believe it is fact)
That our ruins is aimed at in the late act,
Of imposing a duty on all foreign teas,
Which detestable stuff we can quit when we please.
LIBERTY'S the Goddess that I do adore,
And I'll maintain her right until my last hour,
Before she shall part I will die in the cause
For I'll never be govern'd by tyranny's laws.
(Source: A Handbook of the American Wing, N.Y. 1924, from Le Centre d'histoire de Montréal)
Over 5,000 people from Boston and surrounding areas met with the governor to send the ships back to England since particularly disturbing in Boston the royal governor Thomas Hutchinson demanded that arriving ships would be able to deposit their cargoes and duties would be paid. The colonies linked together in a common cause.
On December 16, 1773, disguised as Mohawk Indians, American Patriots boarded the tea ships and threw 342 chests of tea belonging to the British East India Company into Boston Harbor.
These acts united the colonies and set the stage for the Revolutionary War. In retaliation, Parliament passed what was known by the colonists as the Intolerable Acts, among other things closing the Boston Port until they paid for the destroyed tea.
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