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.

Slavery and Neglect

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/13/67/84/136784d102341a62af4020974c6c561a.jpgIn a previous post, I mentioned that the Reverend Jonas Clarke from Lexington probably did more to prepare his people for the eventualities of April 19th, 1775 than any other. Not that he was alone. He absolutely wasn’t. The message of liberty and throwing off the chains of slavery was a message preached from the majority of pulpits in 1775. I’ve also read that, if we didn’t have the writings of the founding fathers, but we had the writings of Clarke, we’d know everything we need to know about the reasons for the Revolution.

I’m reading The History of the Town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, from its first settlement to 1868, by Charles Hudson. It’s an amazing read. I won’t highlight a book that old but I have sticky-tagged almost every page.

Hudson gives us the text of many of the town’s resolutions, all penned by Rev. Clarke. In 1772, a measure was afoot to disconnect the Judges in the Colonies from the people by granting their salaries directly from Parliament. In a resolution of January, 1772, the patriarchs of Lexington were responded. This is from that text:

“That thus, whether successful or not, succeeding generations might know that we understood our rights and liberties, and were neither afraid nor ashamed to assert and maintain them; and that we ourselves may have at least this consolation in our chains, that it was not through our neglect that this people were enslaved.”

And, a week or so ago, in the segment on Robert Munroe, we read this: “Two other descendants of his enlisted from a neighboring city during the Rebellion, and there were probably others who followed their example. Some have predicted that this country will degenerate through a lack of interest in her welfare; but I believe that we shall always have men in time of need of the spirit of Robert Munroe, who will spring to the front, and bravely defend what the fathers won.” (Oct. 12, 1857)

Neglect. The Lexington Patriots were relying on their posterity to make sure slavery did not come upon them by neglect.