What Do Jan 6th and the Boston Tea Party Have in Common? (The history you've never heard!)
So what do Jan 6th and the Boston Tea Party have in common?
Easy! The Wickedness in High Places in 1773 and 2021 both claim they were "lawless and violent" events...when, in fact, the opposite was true.
The Patriots of 1773 and the Patriots of 2021 both behaved impeccably. As I wrote on January 7th, "The dawn's early light revealed a sea of innumerable patriots already assembled. They prayed the Lord's Prayer together, pledged allegiance to our flag together, sang our national anthem together and cheered together."
But just as on Jan 6th, 2021, there were bad actors on December 16th, 1773, the date of the Boston Tea Party. "John Adams notes that there were bad actors (not patriots!) who wished, 'that as many dead Carcasses were floating in the Harbor as there are Chests of Tea,'" according to David Barton's Wallbuilders website.
The Bad Actors of 1773 did NOT get their way.
The Bad Actors of 2021 did.
This is the story of the Boston Tea Party as you've never heard it before. The story of Patriots who were as patient as they were peaceful. The story of an event carried out so impeccably, so carefully, so kindly, so ethically that during my research on the Boston Tea Party I turned to Michael and exclaimed, "Our Founding Fathers are adorable."
Read on, Patriots!
It Wasn't About the Money
What were we taught about the Boston Tea Party in school, if you were taught about it at all!?
That the colonists objected to the British tax on tea. In other words, the colonists' gripe was all about money. Protecting their pocketbook. The almighty pence.
The tea was actually dirt cheap, thanks to the British subsidizing the tea to bribe the colonists into ignoring the illegal tax. This merely pissed off the colonists even more. As Benjamin Franklin wrote, "They believe that three pence on a pound of tea, of which one does not perhaps drink ten pounds in a year, is sufficient to overcome all the patriotism of an American."
While "no taxation without representation" rings in our ears, it was about much more than that. Our childhood history books omitted that by passing the Tea Act of 1773, Britain gave the nearly bankrupt East India Company a monopoly. They and only they could sell tea to the colonies.
This was tyranny. If Britain could mandate a beverage, what was next? Could they then mandate a state religion, as they would mandate Roman Catholicism the official religion of Quebec in 1774? John Adams wrote: “If Parliament could tax us, they could establish the Church of England, with all its creeds, articles, tests, ceremonies, and tithes, and prohibit all other churches, as conventicles and schism-shops.” (conventicle: def. a secret or unlawful religious meeting, typically of people with nonconformist views.) (schism-shop: def. dissenting meeting house)
In response, the enraged colonists paid more for tea smuggled from Holland or simply drank coffee.
They knew that money is merely a means to an end. Just numbers, passed around from one person to another.
But the gift of Freedom from God is priceless.
With Tea, Time is of the Essence
Just like the (equally illegal) IRS, who want their money now...Britain wanted their tea tax money now as well. They allowed a mere twenty (20) day window after the arrival of a shipment of tea wherein the tax must be paid.
Usually, the colonists were successful in convincing the ship captains to simply turn around and return the tea to Britain without docking. But on November 28th, 1773, the American whaler Dartmouth docked in Boston Harbor bearing a return load of tea from England and Massachusetts' bloody-minded Governor Hutchinson, who was paid by the Crown, refused to allow the Dartmouth to return her load to England.
Time was of the essence. The tea must be purchased (and the tax paid by the buyer) or auctioned off (and the tax paid by everyone)...or else. The Governor was determined this would happen. The colonists were equally determined it would not.
Abigail Adams wrote, "“The tea (that baneful weed) is arrived. Great, and I hope, effectual opposition has been made to the landing of it.…the proceedings of our Citizens have been united, spirited and firm. The flame is kindled and like lightning it catches from soul to soul. Great will be the devastation if not timely quenched or allayed by some more lenient measures.”
What to do? What to do? This was a deuce of a pickle.
It Must be Done Impeccably
On Thursday, December 16th, 1773, almost seven thousand patriots assembled in and around the Old South Church. Sixteen (16) days had elapsed since the Dartmouth docked. Something must be done, and soon, for the colonists would not work on the Sabbath. (That's also why I don't write nor update my News page on Saturdays.)
They listened as Captain Rotch, a 2nd generation Nantucket Quaker colonist, explained that his ships would be confiscated if he returned to England still loaded with tea, and he might even lose his life. Even as he spoke, patriot leaders were making one last, desperate attempt to contact Governor Hutchinson to implore him to change his mind. (FUN FACT: The Rotch-owned Bedford was the first ship to fly the American flag on the Thames after we won the Revolutionary War.)
Nothing doing. Hutchinson remained as bloody-minded as Mike Pence on Jan 6th.
Having exhausted every other option, the patriots had but one choice. A choice that would save Captain Rotch's neck and livelihood while still allowing the colonists to remain true to their principles.
But there was a caveat: It must be done impeccably. It must be done perfectly. It must be done ethically. If one, just one, colonist behaved less than morally, all would be ruined and they would go down in history as heels, not heroes.
It was Daughters of Liberty member, Sarah Fulton, who had the idea. "Why don't you disguise yourselves as Mohawk Indians?"
And so they did.
Samuel Adams led the "Mohawks" to Boston Harbor. They boarded the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, the Beaver and the tea party (not "tea riot"!) began.
Empty Your Pockets!
In the gloaming and presence of thousands of Bostonians silently listening from the shore, one hundred and fifty colonists quietly boarded the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver.
Swiftly, they opened 342 cases of tea and dumped them overboard into the harbor. In today's money, that's a loss of approximately £872,553.00 or $1,210,928.18...a debt that was still on the books of Davison, Newman & Co, Ltd as of the mid-1900s. Of course, they petitioned King George III to recoup their loss. Of course, he refused.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to Boston Harbor.
There's always one bad apple. Jan 6th had their Antifa. The Boston Tea Party had one fella who stuffed handfuls of tea into his pockets. This must not be! The tea party must be about principle...not stealing. It must be impeccable.
And so the patriots stripped the Bad Apple naked and dumped him in the harbor. Mercifully, his name has been lost to history and I reckon he wouldn't mind a bit.
Adorable and Impeccable
This is where we get to the part of the story where I exclaimed, "Our Founding Fathers are adorable!"
In less than three hours, 342 cases of tea had been dumped in the harbor. But the job wasn't done yet.
First they swept the decks to ensure ever last leaf of tea was indeed steeping in Boston Harbor.Then the colonists lined up, brushed themselves off and emptied all their cuffs and pockets. Then they re-swept the decks of the ships and went ashore leaving the ships, crates and crews unharmed.
Well, there was one broken padlock. But it was anonymously replaced on December 17th.
And if you don't think that's adorable, you're made of sterner stuff than I am.
The exasperated patriots on Jan 6th who yelled at the police to do something to protect the Capitol against Antifa were acting in the same spirit of our adorable, impeccable Founding Fathers.
Spinning the Yarn
But, of course, just as on January 6th, you have those who will spin a yarn, those who will prevaricate (def. lie like a rug) to make out the event was something other than what it was. Nowadays we call them the lyin' MSM!
The British claimed the colonists were lawless and violent during the Boston Tea Party.
John Adams wrote, “The town of Boston, was never more still and calm of a Saturday night than it was last night. All things were conducted with great order, decency, and perfect submission to government.” (Not sure why he wrote Saturday, when it occurred on Thursday but you catch his drift.)
Even Governor Hutchinson admitted, "the whole was done with very little tumult." Ya think, Guv!?
The colonists had won this round through ingenuity and ethics but eventually there would be Hell to pay.
It would be two-and-a-half more years before we declared our Independence from Great Britain proving, yet again, the great patience and peacefulness of our Founding Fathers.
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