By 15 December, the Eleanor and the Beaver, also both laden with tea, arrive at Griffin’s Wharf. The law is clear: if the duty on the Dartmouth’s tea is not paid by 17 December, the customs officer is authorized to seize the ship and its cargo. The governor and the tea consignees, seeing a potential windfall, refused to all the ships to return the tea to England, even going so far as to order the Navy to intercept them should they leave the harbor. The Massachusetts Assembly further resolved to prevent the East India tea from being landed, stored, sold, or consumed as this would constitute an acceptance of the Tea Act which granted the East India Company an unlawful monopoly in the colony.
In the evening of 16 December, crowds streams out onto the street, chasing 30 to 60 men dressed as Indians down to Griffin’s Wharf. These men harmed no one and did as little damage as possible as they proceeded to dump 342 chests of tea into the sea.
This was a clear nonviolent act with a distinct air of menace which was intended to let the governor know that corruption and tyranny would not go unchecked in Boston! The Tea Party was perhaps America’s most dramatic example of popular sovereignty in action and it is a legacy that Americans must continue to embrace lest we permit new tyrants to rule over us.
Some of that tea has now been dumped in your beer to remind you of the price of Liberty and the role of every good American in
driving Tyranny from our shores!
“Brethren, and Fellow Citizens!
You may depend, that those odious Miscreants and detestable Tools to Ministry and Governor, the TEA CONSIGNEES, (those traitors to their Country, Butchers, who have done, and are doing every Thing to Murder and destroy all that shall stand in the Way of their private Interest,) are determined to come and reside again in the Town of Boston.
I therefore give you this early Notice, that you may hold yourselves in Readiness, on the shortest Notice, to give them such a Reception, as such vile Ingrates deserve.JOYCE, jun. (Chairman of the Committee for Tarring and Feathering.)
If any Person should be so hardy as to Tear this down, they may expect my severest Resentment. J. jun.JOYCE, jun. (Chairman of the Committee for Tarring and Feathering.)
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