The Taxed Tea

On the tenth day of May, 1773, the East India Company were authorized, by act of Parliament, to export their tea, free of duty, to England, but with a tax of threepence a pound to all ports in the American Colonies. This was considered by the colonists as a scheme of the Ministry to prepare them for an unlimited taxation. Advice having been received, that the company had resolved to send out large quantities of tea on their own account, to be sold in the various colonies, the people immediately resolved to send it back to England, in the same ships in which it should come. The pilots were directed how to proceed with the ships on their arrival, and were required to bring them no farther than within the entrance of the harbor. The consignees were summoned to appear at Liberty Tree and resign their office; but to this they replied in letters "daringly affrontive to the town," declining to resign. On the morning of the twenty-eighth of November, the ship Dartmouth, with one hundred and fourteen chests of the long-expected tea, came to anchor near the Castle in Boston harbor, and on the following morning came up and anchored off Griffin's wharf. At the same time, near seven thousand persons, from the several towns around Boston, respectable for their ranks and abilities, and venerable for their age and character, "assembled and unanimously adhered to their former resolution, that the tea should not be landed." During the session of this meeting, a number of persons, disguised as Indians, approached near to the door of the Assembly, and gave the war-whoop, which was answered by a few in the galleries of the house. The savages then repaired to the snips [now numbering three], which harbored the pestilential teas, and began their ravage. They applied themselves in earnest, and in about two hours, broke up three hundred and forty-two chests of tea and discharged their contents into the sea." This song appeared a short time after the occurrence, in the Pennsylvania Packet, under the name of "A new Song, to the plaintive tune of 'Hozier's Ghost."'


As near beauteous Boston Iying,
On the gently swelling flood,
Without jack or pendant flying,
Three ill-fated tea-ships rode.

Just as glorious Sol was setting,
On the wharf, a numerous crew,
Sons of freedom, fear forgetting,
Suddenly appeared in view.

Armed with hammers, axe and chisels,
Weapons new for warlike deed,
Towards the herbage-freighted vessels,
They approached with dreadful speed.

O'er their heads aloft in mid-sky,
Three bright angel forms were seen;
This was Hampden, that was Sidney,
With fair Liberty between.

"Soon," they cried, "your foes you'll banish,
Soon the triumph shall be won;
Scarce shall setting Phoebus vanish,
Ere the deathless deed be done."'

Quick as thought the ships were boarded,
Hatches burst and chests displayed;
Axes, hammers help afforded;
What a glorious clash they made.

Squash into the deep descended,
Cursed weed of China's coast;
Thus at once our fears were ended;
British rights shall ne'er be lost.

Captains! once more hoist your streamers,
Spread your sails, and plough the wave;
Tell your masters they were dreamers,
When thought to cheat the brave.

Ere the deathless deed be done. During the operations of the savages, on board the tea-ships, a watch was stationed to prevent embezzlement, and not a single ounce of the commodity was suffered to be purloined by the populace. One or two persons being detected, in endeavoring to pocket a small quantity, were "stripped of their acquisitions and very roughly handled. Although a considerable quantity of merchandise, of different kinds, remained on board the vessels, no injury was sustained. Such attention to private property was observed, that a small padlock, belonging to the captain of one of the ships,, being broke, another was procured and sent to him." Freeman's Journal.

A Lady's adieu to her tea-table, published a short time after the destruction of the tea at Boston.

Farewell the tea-board, with its gaudy equipage
Of caps and saucers, cream bucket, sugar tongs,
The pretty tea chest also, lately stored
With Hyson, Congo, and best double fine.
Full many a joyous moment I've sat by ye,
Hearing the girls tattle, the old maids talk scandal,
And the spruce coxcomb laugh at - may-be - nothing.
No more shall I dish out the once loved liquor,
Though now detestable,
Because I'm taught, and believe it true,
Its use will fasten slavish chains upon my country.
For Liberty's the godess I would choose
To reign triumphant in America.