A libel on their character. . .

    No Taxation without Representation I may have blogged about this before. One sometimes loses track. But I continue to read through the History of the Town of Lexington by Charles Hudson, published in 1868. It is so beautifully written and gives such an inspiring view looking back on these people and these times.
     If we were to do a “man on the street” interview with folks, and asked them why the Colonists fought for Independence, if they had any idea at all, the likely answer would be a rote “no taxation without representation.”
     I can’t refute that statement any better than Hudson does, so I’ll just leave you with this passage:

It is a libel upon the character of our fathers, to say that they involved the country in all the horrors of war, rather than pay a petty tax upon stamped paper and tea. They had motives higher, purer, and holier, than that of avoiding the payment of an insignificant tax. They planted themselves upon the great principles of human rights — of fealty to their country, and fidelity to their God. They felt that they had personal rights which they were bound to defend — a duty they owed to posterity, which they were under a sacred obligation to discharge — a devotion to the Most High, which it were treason to disregard. Such were the motives and the convictions of our patriot sires. They fought not to conquer, but to defend; not to humble a foe, but to build up a commonwealth on the great principles of equal rights. To these duties they were prompted by the dictates of patriotism, and the teachings of the Word of Life.

Why dump that tea?

I never quite understood the reason why Sam Adams and the Boston Patriots felt they had to dump that tea in the harbor.  I have a hunch I’m not alone. 

Here’s the deal. . .

The Townshend Acts of 1767 – a series of taxes placed on the Colonies by Parliament.

These taxes really riled up the Colonials. Their charters stated that there would be no taxes except by their own consent. They didn’t mind taxes, per se. They minded not having any voice in Parliament. So these Acts were very unpopular and boycotts ensued.

So, in 1773, Parliament came up with a sinister plan. They dropped the majority of these taxes but kept the tax on tea. Meanwhile, the East India Company, because they squawked at their downturn in business because of the boycotts and such, sucked up to the King and Parliament (lobbied) and they granted the EIC a monopoly on tea in America. Then, the British government lowered the taxes on tea, thinking that the Americans would not give up their beloved tea for the paltry taxes left on the tea.

Whoops, big misjudgment.

Here’s the resolve of the Town of Lexington regarding those East India ships carrying the tea.

"And further, we are more especially alarmed, as by these crafty measures, the revenue Act is to be established, and the rights and
liberties of Americans forever sapped and destroyed. These appear to us to be sacrifices we must make; and these are the costly pledges that must be given into the hands of the oppressor. The moment we receive this detested article (the tea on the East India ships),
the tribute will be established upon us. For nothing short of this will ever fill the mouth of the oppressor, or gorge the insatiate appetite of lust and ambition.

Once admit this subtle, wicked ministerial plan to take place — once permit this tea, thus imposed upon us by the East India Company, to be landed, received and vended, by their consignees, factors, etc., the badge of our slavery is fixed, the foundation of ruin is surely laid, and unless a wise and powerful God, by some unforeseen revolution in Providence, shall prevent, we shall soon be obliged to bid farewell to the once flourishing trade of America, and an everlasting adieu to those glorious rights and liberties, for which our worthy ancestors so earnestly prayed, so bravely fought, so freely bled!"

So, why did they dump the tea into the harbor? Because they knew that this was just the camel’s nose under the tent. They were pretty smart.

Next week we’ll answer the question: Why did they dress as Indians? It’s not what you’ve been told.