Ten Tea Parties: Patriotic Protests That History Forgot
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Everyone knows the story of the Boston Tea Party—in which colonists stormed three British ships and dumped 92,000 pounds of tea into Boston Harbor. But do you know the history of the Philadelphia Tea Party (December 1773)? How about the York, Maine, Tea Party (September 1774) or the Wilmington, North Carolina, Tea Party (March 1775)?
Ten Tea Parties is the first book to chronicle all these uniquely American protests. Author and historian Joseph Cummins begins with the history of the East India Company (the biggest global corporation in the eighteenth century) and their staggering financial losses during the Boston Tea Party (more than a million dollars in today’s money).
From there we travel to Philadelphia, where Captain Samuel Ayres was nearly tarred and feathered by a mob of 8,000 angry patriots. Then we set sail for New York City, where the Sons of Liberty raided the London and heaved 18 chests of tea into the Hudson River. Still later, in Annapolis, Maryland, a brigantine carrying 2,320 pounds of the “wretched weed” was burned to ashes.
Together, the stories in Ten Tea Parties illuminate the power of Americans banding together as Americans—for the very first time in the fledgling nation’s history. It’s no wonder these patriots remain an inspiration to so many people today.
South-Carolina Gazette had warned that the tea was a symbol of Parliament’s determination to “raise a revenue, out of your pockets, against your consent, and to render assemblies of your representatives totally useless.” A few days later, another patriot cautioned that Parliament would soon be taxing the colonists “for the very light of heaven.” The day the tea arrived, handbills appeared all over town inviting residents to a meeting on December 3 in the Great Hall of the city’s famous Old
JAMES NICHOLSON, CHESTERTOWN MERCHANT AND U.S. NAVY COMMANDER (photo credit 1.16) Would such an ardent patiot really try to sneak the despised tea into his hometown? For further insights into Nicholson’s character, we must skip ahead to the American Revolution, during which he didn’t exactly distinguish himself. In October 1776, the Continental Congress appointed the first captains to the fledgling United States Navy, and Nicholson was at the top of the list, literally. He was named commander of
his muddy boots before entering the living room? Or was it done out of furious, self-destructive anger at her lot in life? It’s hard to know if this mid-eighteenth-century article from a prominent Boston newspaper can be taken at face value—one hopes it’s simply an attempt at humorous hyperbole—but the writer’s gleeful tone is irrefutable and speaks volumes about the life of women in the American colonies. In most households, women were expected to stay home, bear children (on average, about one
British. When the Stamp Act was announced in 1765, a mob of several hundred gathered to protest. According to the South-Carolina Gazette, a Charleston newspaper covering events in the Carolinas, these patriots “exhibited the effigy of a certain honorable gentleman; and after letting it hang by the neck for some time, near the courthouse they made a large bonfire with a number of tar barrels, etc., and committed it to the flames.” The effigy in question was that of a Scot who expressed his
groups have as their foundation the belief that government is no longer responsive to the will of the people. Certainly, tea partiers old and new share a sense of moral outrage. In 1773, the East India Company and the British government thought they could buy off the American people by lowering the price of tea by a few shillings and then levying a tax when consumers weren’t looking. When Goldman Sachs was bailed out, many saw it as just another example of a special-interest group—much like the