It is only fair to say that the performance of what he honestly believed to be his duty was as vital a consideration with Thomas Hutchinson, the royal governor, as opposition to measures which he believed to be hostile to the liberties of his country was to Samuel Adams, the popular leader. We can at this day well afford to mete out this tardy justice to a man whose motives and conduct have been so bitterly and unscrupulously vilified and maligned as have been those of Thomas Hutchinson.
When Rotch returned and told the result of his application, it was nearly six o'clock. Darkness had set in, and the Old South, dimly lighted with candles, was still filled with an anxious and impatient multitude. "Who knows," said John Rowe, "how tea will mingle with salt water?" The people hurrahed vehemently, and the cry arose, "A mob! a mob!" A call to order restored quiet. Dr. Young then addressed the meeting, saying that Rotch was a good man, who had done all in his power to gratify the people, and charged them to do no hurt to his person or property.
To the final question then put to him, whether he would send his vessel back with the tea in her, under the present circumstances, he replied, that he could not, as he "apprehended that a compliance would prove his ruin." He also admitted that if called upon by the proper persons, he should attempt to land the tea for his own security.
Adams then arose and uttered the fateful words, "This meeting can do nothing more to save the country." This was doubtless the preconcerted signal for action, and it was answered by the men who sounded the war-whoop at the church door. The cry was re-echoed from the gallery, where a voice cried out, "Boston harbor a tea-pot to-night; hurrah for Griffin's wharf!" and the "Mohawks" passed on to cut the Gordian knot with their hatchets.
Silence was again commanded, when the people, after "manifesting a most exemplary patience and caution in the methods they had pursued to preserve the property of the East India Company, and to return it safe and untouched to its owners," perceiving that at every step they had been thwarted by the consignees and their coadjutors, then dissolved the meeting, giving three cheers as they dispersed.
Meanwhile a number of persons, variously estimated at from twenty to eighty, (their number increasing as they advanced,) some of them disguised as Indians, and armed with hatchets or axes, hurried to Griffin's (now Liverpool) wharf, boarded the ships, and, warning their crews and the customs officers to keep out of the way, in less than three hours time had broken and emptied into the dock three hundred and forty-two chests of tea, valued at L18,000. The deed was not that of a lawless mob, but the deliberate and well-considered act of intelligent, as well as determined, men. So careful were they not to destroy or injure private property, that they even replaced a padlock they had broken. There was no noise nor confusion. They worked so quietly and systematically that those on shore could distinctly hear the strokes of the hatchets. As soon as the people learned what was going forward, they made their way to the scene of operations, covering the wharves in the vicinity, whence they looked on in silence during the performance. The night was clear, the moon shone brilliantly, no one was harmed, and the town was never more quiet. Next day, the Dorchester shore was lined with tea, carried thither by the wind and tide. The serious spirit in which this deed was regarded by the leaders, is illustrated by the act of one who, after assisting his apprentice to disguise himself, dropped upon his knees and prayed fervently for his safety, and the success of the enterprise.
Among the spectators of the scene were Dr. John Prince, of Salem; John Andrews, and Dr. Hugh Williamson, who afterwards underwent an examination respecting the affair before the British House of Commons.
Where is now the wide Atlantic Avenue, the old footpath under Fort Hill, known as Flounder Lane, and afterwards as Broad Street, wound around the margin of the water. Sea Street was its continuation to Wheeler's Point (the foot of Summer Street). Opposite where Hutchinson (now Pearl) Street entered Flounder Lane, was Griffin's Wharf. The laying out of Broad Street and Atlantic Avenue, and the consequent widening and filling in, have resulted in obliterating Griffin's Wharf, although in Liverpool wharf it has a legitimate successor. The old dock logs were found near the centre of the avenue. The coal office of the Messrs. Chapin now occupies the site rendered memorable by the exploit of the Boston tea party.
* * * * *
The destruction of the tea is said to have been planned in the "Long Room," over Edes & Gills' printing-office, on the easterly corner of Franklin Avenue and Court Street, where the "Daily Advertiser" building recently stood. In their back office some of the party it is said were disguised.
Among the members of the "Long Room Club," as those who usually met here were styled, were Samuel Adams, Hancock, Warren, Otis, Church, Samuel Dexter, Dr. Samuel Cooper, and his brother, William Cooper, Thomas Dawes, Samuel Phillips Savage, Royal Tyler, Paul Revere, Thomas Fleet, John Winthrop, William Molineux, and Thomas Melvill.
A similar claim is also made for the "Green Dragon" tavern, then known as the "Freemasons' Arms," which stood near the northerly corner of Union and Hanover Streets, where the Masonic Lodge of St. Andrew held its meetings. The honor belongs equally to both. In both, the consultations of the popular leaders were undoubtedly held and their plans laid. Prominent members of this Lodge, who were also active "Sons of Liberty," and members of the tea party were, Paul Revere, Edward Proctor, Thomas Chase, Adam Collson, Samuel Peck and Thomas Urann. Its later members, also identified with the tea party, were Samuel Gore, Daniel Ingersoll, Henry Purkitt, Amos Lincoln, James Swan, Robert Davis, Abraham Hunt, Eliphalet Newell and Nathaniel Willis. Other prominent Free Masons active in the tea affair were Dr. Warren and John Rowe. The tradition of the Lodge is, that the preliminaries of the affair were arranged here, and that the execution of them was committed mainly to the North End Caucus, with the co-operation of the more daring of the "Sons of Liberty." The committee of safety also met here. The record book of the lodge, under date of November 30, 1773, says:
"Lodge met and adjourned. N.B.—The consignees of the tea took the brethren's time."
And on the eventful 16th of December:
"The Lodge met and closed on account of the few members in attendance. Adjourned until to-morrow evening."
Three different parties, one or two of whom were disguised, had been prepared beforehand for this event, by the leaders. Certain it is that there were several squads in different parts of the town, who disguised themselves at their own or their neighbors' houses, and who then rendezvoused at points previously designated, before going to the wharf. Quite an Indian village was improvised at the junction of Hollis and Tremont Streets. John Crane, Joseph Lovering, and the Bradlees occupied opposite corners of this locality, the house and carpenter shop of Crane adjoining the residence of the famous Dr. Mather Byles. Captain Thomas Bolter and Samuel Fenno, also of the tea party, were near neighbors of Crane, and like him, were carpenters. Joseph Lovering, Jr., related that he held the light for Crane and some of his neighbors, to disguise themselves, in Crane's shop. The four brothers Bradlee, and a brother-in-law, were prepared for the occasion at their house opposite.
* * * * *
Perhaps the best contemporaneous account of the affair is the following, from the "Massachusetts Gazette," of December 23:
"Just before the dissolution of the meeting," says the 'Gazette,' a number of brave and resolute men, dressed in the Indian manner, approached near the door of the assembly, and gave a war-whoop, which rang through the house, and was answered by some in the galleries, but silence was commanded, and a peaceable deportment enjoined until the dissolution. The Indians, as they were then called, repaired to the wharf, where the ships lay that had the tea on board, and were followed by hundreds of people, to see the event of the transactions of those who made so grotesque an appearance. The Indians immediately repaired on board Captain Hall's ship, where they hoisted out the chests of tea, and when on deck stove them and emptied the tea overboard. Having cleared this ship, they proceeded to Captain Bruce's, and then to Captain Coffin's brig. They applied themselves so dexterously to the destruction of this commodity, that in the space of three hours they broke up three hundred and forty-two chests, which was the whole number in these vessels, and discharged their contents into the dock. When the tide rose it floated the broken chests and the tea insomuch that the surface of the water was filled therewith a considerable way from the south part of the town to Dorchester Neck, and lodged on the shores. There was the greatest care taken to prevent the tea from being purloined by the populace; one or two being detected in endeavoring to pocket a small quantity were stripped of their acquisitions and very roughly handled. It is worthy of remark that although a considerable quantity of goods were still remaining on board the vessel, no injury was sustained. Such attention to private property was observed, that a small padlock belonging to the captain of one of the ships being broke, another was procured and sent to him. The town was very quiet during the whole evening and the night following. Those who were from the country went home with a merry heart, and the next day joy appeared in almost every countenance, some on account of the destruction of the tea, others on account of the quietness with which it was effected. One of the Monday's papers says the masters and owners are well pleased that their ships are thus cleared."
Another Boston paper says:
"The people repaired to Griffin's wharf, where the tea vessels lay, proceeded to fix tackles and hoist the tea upon deck, cut the chests to pieces, and throw the tea over the side.... They began upon the two ships first, as they had nothing on board but the tea, then proceeded to the brig, which had hauled to the wharf but the day before, and had but a small part of her cargo out. The captain of the brig begged they would not begin with his vessel, as the tea was covered with goods belonging to different merchants in the town. They told him 'the tea they wanted, and the tea they would have, but if he would go into his cabin quietly, not one article of his goods should be hurt.' They immediately proceeded to remove the goods, and then to dispose of the tea."
From the "Evening Post" of Monday, December 20, 1773:
"Previous to the dissolution, a number of persons, supposed to be the aboriginal natives, from their complexion, approaching the door of the assembly, gave the war-whoop, which was answered by a few in the galleries of the house, where the crowded assembly was convened. Silence was commanded, and prudent and peaceable deportment again enjoined. The savages repaired to the ships which contained the pestilential tea, and had begun their ravages previous to the dissolution of the meeting."
Extract from the log-book of the "Dartmouth:"
"Thursday, December 16. This twenty-four hours rainy weather, terminating this day. Between six and seven o'clock this evening, came down to the wharf a body of about one thousand people, among them were a number dressed and whooping like Indians. They came on board the ship, and after warning myself and the custom-house officers to get out of the way, they undid the hatches and went down the hold, where was eighty whole, and thirty-four half chests, of tea, which they hoisted upon deck, and cut the chests to pieces, and hove the tea all overboard, where it was damaged and lost."
* * * * *
John Andrews, an eye-witness, in a letter to a friend relates particulars not elsewhere mentioned. While drinking tea at his house he heard "prodigious shouts," and went to the Old South Meeting House to ascertain the cause:
"The house was so crowded," he says, "that I could get no further than the porch, when I found the moderator was just declaring the meeting to be dissolved, which caused another general shout out-doors and in, and three cheers. What with that and the consequent noise of breaking up the meeting, you'd thought the inhabitants of the infernal regions had broke loose. For my part, I went contentedly home and finished my tea, but was soon informed what was going forward. Not crediting it without ocular demonstration, I went and was satisfied. They mustered, I'm told, upon Fort Hill, to the number of about two hundred, and proceeded, two by two, to Griffin's wharf, where Hall, Bruce and Coffin lay.... The latter arrived at the wharf only the day before, and was freighted with a large quantity of other goods, which they took the greatest care not to injure in the least, and before nine o'clock in the evening every chest on board the three vessels was knocked to pieces and flung over the sides. They say the actors were Indians from Narragansett; whether they were or not, to a transient observer they appeared as such, being clothed in blankets, with their heads muffled, and copper-colored countenances, being each armed with a hatchet or axe, or pair of pistols, nor was their dialect different from what I conceive these geniuses to speak, as their jargon was unintelligible to all but themselves. Not the least insult was offered to any person save one Captain Connor, a letter of horses in this place, not many years since removed from dear Ireland, who had ript up the lining of his coat and waistcoat under the arms, and watching his opportunity, had nearly filled them with tea, but being detected, was handled pretty roughly. They not only stripped him of his clothes, but gave him a coat of mud, with a severe bruising into the bargain, and nothing but their utter aversion to making any disturbance prevented his being tarred and feathered."
* * * * *
Many interesting details are supplied by the reminiscences of the actors themselves, long afterwards. In the "Recollections of a Bostonian," published in the "Centinel," in 1821-22, the writer says he spent the night but one before the destruction of the tea as one of the guard detached from the new grenadier corps, in company with Gen. Knox, then one of its officers, on board one of the tea ships. He heard John Rowe suggest to the meeting in the Old South, "Who knows how tea will mingle with salt water?" a suggestion received with great applause. He further states that when the answer of the governor was reported to the meeting—
"An Indian yell was heard from the street. Mr. Samuel Adams cried out that it was a trick of their enemies to disturb the meeting, and requested the people to keep their places, but the people rushed out and accompanied the Indians to the ships. The number of persons disguised as Indians is variously stated,—none put it lower than sixty, nor higher than eighty. The destruction was effected by them, and some young men who volunteered. One of the latter collected the tea which fell into the shoes of himself and companions, and put it in a phial and sealed it up,—now in his possession.... The hall of council is said to have been in the back room of Edes' printing-office, at the corner of the alley leading to Brattle Street Church, from Court Street."
In 1827, Joshua Wyeth, of Cincinnati, related the following particulars of the affair to Rev. Timothy Flint. Wyeth, then sixteen years old, was a journeyman blacksmith in the employ of Watson and Gridley. He says:
"Our numbers were between twenty-eight and thirty. Of my associates I only remember the names of Frothingham, Mead, Martin and Grant. Many of them were apprentices and journeymen, not a few, as was the case with myself, living with Tory masters. I had but a few hours warning of what was intended to be done. We first talked of firing the ships, but feared the fire would communicate to the town. We then proposed sinking them, but dropped that project through fear that we should alarm the town before we could get through with it. We had observed that very few persons remained on board the ships, and we finally concluded that we could take possession of them, and discharge the tea into the harbor without danger or opposition. One of the ships laid at the wharf, the others a little way out in the stream, with their warps made fast to the wharf. To prevent discovery, we agreed to wear ragged clothes and disfigure ourselves, dressing to resemble Indians as much as possible, smearing our faces with grease and lamp black or soot, and should not have known each other except by our voices. Our most intimate friends among the spectators had not the least knowledge of us. We surely resembled devils from the bottomless pit rather than men. At the appointed time we met in an old building at the head of the wharf, and fell in one after another, as if by accident, so as not to excite suspicion. We placed a sentry at the head of the wharf, another in the middle, and one on the bow of each ship as we took possession. We boarded the ship moored by the wharf, and our leader, in a very stern and resolute manner, ordered the captain and crew to open the hatchways, and hand us the hoisting tackle and ropes, assuring them that no harm was intended them. The captain asked what we intended to do. Our leader told him that we were going to unload the tea, and ordered him and the crew below. They instantly obeyed. Some of our number then jumped into the hold, and passed the chests to the tackle. As they were hauled on deck others knocked them open with axes, and others raised them to the railing and discharged their contents overboard. All who were not needed for discharging this ship went on board the others, warped them to the wharf, when the same ceremonies were repeated. We were merry, in an undertone, at the idea of making so large a cup of tea for the fishes, but were as still as the nature of the case would admit, using no more words than were absolutely necessary. We stirred briskly in the business from the moment we left our dressing-room. I never worked harder in my life. While we were unloading, the people collected in great numbers about the wharf to see what was going on. They crowded around us so as to be much in our way. Our sentries were not armed, and could not stop any who insisted on passing. They were particularly charged to give us notice in case any known Tory came down to the wharf. There was much talk about this business next morning. We pretended to be as zealous to find out the perpetrators as the rest, and were all so close and loyal, that the whole affair remained in Egyptian darkness."
* * * * *
In 1835, a small volume appeared, entitled "Traits of the Tea Party," with a memoir of G.R.T. Hewes. From it we glean the following incidents.
Mr. Hewes thinks that among the speakers at the meeting on the afternoon of December 16, was John Hancock, who said that "the matter must be settled before twelve o'clock that night." Hewes positively affirms that he recognized Hancock, who worked by his side in the destruction of the tea, not only by his ruffles, which were accidentally exposed, and by his figure and gait, but by his voice and features, notwithstanding his paint, and the loosened club of hair behind. In this he was undoubtedly mistaken. Neither Hancock, Adams nor Warren were among the disguised Indians. There were enough who were competent for the business without them.
Just before the meeting dissolved, some one in the galleries (Mr. Pierce thinks it was Adam Collson) cried out with a loud voice, "Boston harbor a tea-pot to-night! Hurrah for Griffin's wharf!" This is probably the disorder checked by the chairman, and which was in response to the war-whoops outside. Three cheers were given by the meeting as it broke up.
The disguise of the Indians was hastily prepared. Many of them arrayed themselves in a store on Fort Hill. The original number of one of the parties was fifteen or twenty. Many others joined in the act of breaking up the boxes, who disguised themselves as best they could, and some, chiefly extempore volunteers, were not disguised at all. Hewes himself, while the crowd rushed down Milk Street, made his way to a blacksmith's shop, on Boylston's wharf, where he hastily begrimmed his face with a soot-able preparation, thence to the house of an acquaintance near Griffin's, where he got a blanket, which he wrapped around his person.
When he reached the wharf, there were many there, but no crowd. The moon shone brightly. From one hundred to one hundred and fifty were engaged. The whole were divided into three equal divisions, with a captain and boatswain for each. Hewes's whistling talent—a matter of public notoriety—procured him the position of boatswain in the party, under Captain Lendall Pitts, which boarded the brig. Many were fantastically arrayed in old frocks, red woolen caps or gowns, and all manner of like habiliments.
One of Pitts's first official acts was to send a message to the mate, who was in his cabin, for the use of a few lights and the brig's keys, so that as little damage as possible might be done to the vessel. The keys were handed over without a word, and he also provided candles. The three parties finished their separate tasks nearly at the same time, and without unnecessary delay. A number of sailors and others had joined them from time to time, and aided them in hoisting the chests from the hold.
Collecting on the wharf, which was now covered with spectators, a fresh inspection was instituted, and all the tea men were ordered to take off their shoes and empty them, which was supposed to be done. Pitts, who was a military man, and a prominent Son of Liberty, was appointed commander-in-chief; the company was formed in rank and file by his directions, with the aid of Barber, Proctor, and some others, and "shouldering arms,"—such as they had, tomahawks included,—they marched up the wharf, to what is now the east end of Pearl Street, back into town, and then separated and went quietly home.
All was done in plain sight of the British squadron, which lay less than a quarter of a mile distant. Admiral Montagu witnessed most of the affair from a more convenient point—the house of a Tory, named Coffin, on Atkinson Street, near the head of the wharf. Raising the window as they came along, he said, "Well, boys, you have had a fine, pleasant evening for your Indian caper, haven't you? But mind, you have got to pay the fiddler yet!"
"Oh, never mind!" shouted Pitts, "never mind, squire! Just come out here, if you please, and we'll settle the bill in two minutes." This caused a shout, the fife struck up a lively air, the admiral put the window down in a hurry, and the company marched on.
When Hewes reached home he told his wife the story. "Well, George," said she, "Did you bring me home a lot of it?" The only tea known to have been brought that night from the wharf was in the shoes of Thomas Melvill. A sample gathered on the Dorchester shore by Dr. Thaddeus M. Harris, is now preserved in the cabinet of the Antiquarian Society, at Worcester.
One O'Connor, an Irishman, formerly a fellow apprentice with Hewes, attempted to secrete some of the tea. Hewes noticed a suspicious movement of his hands along the lining of his coat, and informed Pitts. Catching him by the skirts of his coat, he pulled him back as he was trying to escape, and he was quickly relieved of his cargo, as well as the apparel which contained it, and a few kicks were applied to hasten his retreat.
Early on the morning of the 17th, a long windrow of tea, "about as big as you ever saw of hay," was seen extending from the wharves down to the castle. A party of volunteers soon turned out in boats, and stirred it up in the "pot" pretty effectually.
* * * * *
Those who undertook to preserve any of the poisonous herb were sharply looked after by the patriots. A Boston paper of January 3, 1774, says:
"Whereas, it was reported that one Withington, of Dorchester, had taken up and partly disposed of a chest of the East India Company's tea, a number of the Cape or Narragansett Indians went to the house of Captain Ebenezer Withington, and his brother Phillip, last Friday evening, and thoroughly searched their houses, without offering the least offence to any one. Finding no tea, they proceeded to the house of old Mr. Ebenezer Withington, at a place called Sodom, below Dorchester Meeting House, where they found part of a half-chest, which had floated, and was cast up on Dorchester Point. This they seized and brought to Boston Common, where they committed it to the flames."
Benjamin Simpson, a bricklayer's apprentice, says:
"After the meeting in the Old South was over, there was a cry in the gallery of 'every man to his tent.' We repaired to the wharf. I went on board both ships, but saw no person belonging to them. In a few minutes a number of men came on the wharf, (with the Indian pow-wow,) went on board the ships, then lying at the side of the wharf, the water in the dock not more than two feet deep. They began to throw the tea into the water, which went off with the tide till the tea grounded. We soon found there was tea on board the brig also. A demand being made of it, the captain told us the whole of his cargo was on board; that the tea was directly under the hatches, which he would open if we would not damage anything but the tea, which was agreed to. The hatches were then opened, a man sent down to show us the tea, which we hoisted out, stove the chests and threw tea and all overboard. Those on board the ships did the same. I was on board the ships when the tea was so high by the side of them as to fall in, which was shovelled down more than once. We on board the brig were not disguised. I was then nineteen years old; I am now (1830) seventy-five."
Peter, the son of Benjamin Edes, the printer, in a letter to his grandson, Benjamin C. Edes, written in 1836, says of the tea party:
"I know but little about it, as I was not admitted into their presence, for fear, I suppose, of their being known.... I recollect perfectly well that in the afternoon preceding the evening of the destruction of the tea, a number of gentlemen met in the parlor of my father's house,—how many I cannot say. As I said before, I was not admitted into their presence; my station was in another room, to make punch for them, in the bowl which is now in your possession, and which I filled several times. They remained in the house till dark,—I suppose to disguise themselves like Indians,—when they left the house, and proceeded to the wharves where the vessels lay. Before they reached there they were joined by hundreds. I thought I would take a walk to the wharves as a spectator, where was collected, I may say, as many as two thousand persons. The Indians worked smartly. Some were in the hold immediately after the hatches were broken open, fixing the ropes to the tea-chests, others were breaking open the chests, and others stood ready with hatchets to cut off the bindings of the chests and cast them overboard. I remained till I was tired, and fearing some disturbance might occur, went home, leaving the Indians working like good, industrious fellows. This is all I know about it."
The account given by General Ebenezer Stevens to his son, Horatio Gates Stevens, is as follows:
"I went from the Old South Meeting House just after dark. The party was about seventy or eighty. At the head of the wharf we met the detachment of our company (Paddock's Artillery) on guard, who joined us. I commenced with a party on board the vessel of which Hodgdon was mate, (the 'Dartmouth') and as he knew me, I left that vessel with some of my comrades and went aboard another vessel, which lay at the opposite side of the wharf. Numbers of others took our places on board Hodgdon's vessel. We commenced handing the boxes of tea on deck, and first began breaking them with axes, but found much difficulty, owing to the boxes of tea being covered with canvas,—the mode that the article was then imported in. I think that all the tea was destroyed in about two hours. We were careful to prevent any being taken away. None of the party were painted as Indians, nor, that I know of, disguised, excepting that some of them stopped at a paint shop on the way, and daubed their faces with paint."
Robert Sessions, of South Wilbraham, (now Hampden) Mass., another actor in the scene, says:
"I was living in Boston at the time, in the family of a Mr. Davis, a lumber merchant, as a common laborer. On that eventful evening, when Mr. Davis came in from the town meeting, I asked him what was to be done with the tea. 'They are now throwing it overboard,' he replied. Receiving permission, I went immediately to the spot. Everything was as light as day, by the means of lamps and torches; a pin might be seen lying on the wharf. I went on board where they were at work, and took hold with my own hands. I was not one of those appointed to destroy the tea, and who disguised themselves as Indians, but was a volunteer; the disguised men being largely men of family and position in Boston, while I was a young man, whose home and relations were in Connecticut. The appointed and disguised party proving too small for the quick work necessary, other young men, similarly circumstanced with myself, joined them in their labors. The chests were drawn up by a tackle,—one man bringing them forward, another putting a rope around them, and others hoisting them to the deck and carrying them to the vessel's side. The chests were then opened, the tea emptied over the side, and the chests thrown overboard. Perfect regularity prevailed during the whole transaction. Although there were many people on the wharf, entire silence prevailed,—no clamor, no talking. Nothing was meddled with but the teas on board. After having emptied the whole, the deck was swept clean, and everything put in its proper place. An officer on board was requested to come up from the cabin and see that no damage was done except to the tea. At about the close of the scene, a man was discovered making his way through the crowd with his pockets filled with tea. He was immediately laid hold of, and his coat skirts torn off, with their pockets, and thrown into the dock with the rest of the tea. I was obliged to leave the town at once, as it was of course known that I was concerned in the affair."
William Tudor, then a law student in the office of John Adams, and acquainted with some of the members of the tea party, gives in his "Life of James Otis," the following account of it:
"A band of eighteen or twenty young men (no one of whom was in any disguise), who had been prepared for the event, went by the Meeting House giving a shout. It was echoed by some within; others exclaimed, 'the Mohawks are come!;' the assembly broke up and a part of it followed this body of young men to Griffin's wharf. Three different parties, composed of trust-worthy persons, many of whom were in after life among the most respectable citizens of the town, had been prepared, in conformity to the secret resolves of the political leaders, to act as circumstances should require. They were seventy or eighty in all, and when every attempt to have the tea returned had failed, it was immediately made known to them, and they proceeded at once to throw the obnoxious merchandise into the water. One, if not two of these parties, wore a kind of Indian disguise. Two of these persons, in passing over Fort Hill to the scene of operations, met a British officer who, on observing them, naturally enough drew his sword. As they approached, one of the Indians drew a pistol, and said to the officer, 'The path is wide enough for us all; we have nothing to do with you, and intend you no harm; if you keep your own way peaceably, we shall keep ours."
Henry Purkitt, Samuel Sprague and John Hooten, (all living in 1835,) were apprentices of about the same age. Purkitt and Dolbear were apprentices with Peck, the cooper, in Essex Street. While at their work they heard a loud whistle, which startled them, and which they followed till it brought them to the wharf. Their part of the play was on the flats, by the side of one of the vessels,—for it was nearly low tide,—and with other boys, by direction of the commander, to break up more thoroughly the fragments of chests and masses of tea thrown over in too great haste. They found their return upon deck much facilitated by the immense pile which had accumulated beneath and around them. The commander acted as an interpreter for those persons,—apparently five or six aboard each vessel,—who especially assumed the Indian guise. These were no doubt among the principal directors of the whole affair. They affected to issue their orders from time to time in an Indian jargon, the interpreter communicating what the chiefs said; attended to the procuring of keys and lights, the raising of the derricks, trampling the tea into the mud, sweeping the decks at the close of the scene, calling up the mate to report whether everything (except, of course, the tea) was left as they found it, etc.
Purkitt and Dolbear went home early. Peck, who was believed to be one of the chiefs, came in rather softly, at one o'clock in the morning. The boys noticed some indications of red paint behind his ears, next day. The only tools they used were staves, which they made before starting.
* * * * *
David Kinnison, the last survivor of the tea party, died at Chicago in 1852, at the great age of one hundred and fifteen. He was one of seventeen inhabitants of Lebanon, Maine, who had associated themselves together as a political club, and, who had determined, at all hazards, to destroy the tea, whether assisted or not. Some of them repairing to Boston, joined the party, and twenty-four, disguised as Indians, hastened on board the ships, twelve armed with muskets and bayonets, the rest with tomahawks and clubs. They expected to have a fight, not doubting that an effort would be made for their arrest, and agreed at the outset to stand by each other to the last. They also pledged themselves not to reveal the names of the party. Owing to the great age of Kinnison, when this relation was made to Mr. Lossing, it is possibly in some particulars erroneous, and is given only as a piece of original evidence, and simply for what it is worth.
With a British squadron and British troops so near at hand, it seems strange that the party was not interrupted. The probable reason is, that something far more serious was expected on any attempt to land the tea, and that the authorities, the owners of the ships, the consignees of the tea, and all others concerned, were glad to be thus extricated from a serious dilemma. They, however, could not be called upon to interfere, except by the civil authorities, in case of a riot.
Governor Hutchinson says "the tea could have been secured in the town in no other way than by landing marines from the men-of-war, or bringing to town the regiment which was at the castle, to remove the guards from the ships and to take their places." This would have brought on a greater convulsion than there was any danger of in 1770, and it would not have been possible, when two regiments were forced out of the town, for so small a body of troops to have kept possession of the place. He did not suppose such a measure would be approved of in England, nor was he sure of support from any one person in authority. There was not a justice of peace, sheriff, constable or peace officer in the province who would venture to take cognizance of any breach of law against the general bent of the people. So many of the actors were universally known that a proclamation, with a reward for discovery, would have been ridiculed. Hutchinson submitted the consideration of the affair to the council, and that body promised to give it attention, but nothing came of it. "Of the thousands concerned in the transaction," wrote General Gage to the historian Chalmers, "or who were spectators of it, only one witness could be procured to give testimony against them, and that one conditionally that the delinquents should be tried in England." So far as is known, only a single person was arrested,—a Mr. Eckley, and he was never brought to trial.
A fourth tea-ship, destined for Boston, was wrecked on Cape Cod. The few chests of tea saved from her cargo were, by the governor's order, placed in the castle. Twenty-eight chests, brought a little later by another vessel from London, on the joint account of Boston merchants, were destroyed by a disguised party, on March 7, 1774. The people of Charlestown destroyed, in the market place, all the tea they could find in the town, paying the owners its value. Other towns did the same.
An account of the transaction, drawn up by the Boston committee, was carried by Paul Revere, to New York and Philadelphia. When the news reached New York, vast numbers of the people collected. They were in high spirits, one and all declaring that the ships with tea on board, designed for that port, should on arrival be sent back, or the tea destroyed. They highly extolled the Bostonians for what the people had done, and immediately forwarded the news to Philadelphia. When Revere, on his return, brought word that Governor Tryon had engaged to send the New York tea-ships back, all the bells in Boston were rung next morning.
Extract from a letter to the Sons of Liberty, in New York, dated Boston, December 17, 1773:
"The bearer is chosen by the committee from a number of gentlemen, who volunteered to carry you this intelligence. We are in a perfect jubilee. Not a Tory in the whole community can find the least fault with our proceedings.... The spirit of the people throughout the country is to be described by no terms in my power. Their conduct last night surprised the admiral and English gentlemen, who observed that these were not a mob of disorderly rabble, (as they have been reported,) but men of sense, coolness and intrepidity."
The tea shipped to South Carolina (two hundred and fifty-seven chests) arrived on the second of December. So strenuous was the opposition to its being landed, that the consignees were persuaded to resign. Though the collector, after the twentieth day, seized the dutiable article, as no one would sell it or pay the duty, it perished in the damp cellars where it was stored.
On December 25, news reached Philadelphia that its tea-ship was at Chester. The Delaware pilots had been warned, by printed handbills, not to conduct any tea-ships into the harbor, as they were only sent for the purpose of enslaving and poisoning the Americans. Four miles below the town it came to anchor. On the 27th, news of what had occurred in Boston having arrived, five thousand men collected in town meeting at an hour's notice. At their suggestion, the consignee, who came as passenger, resigned, and the captain agreed to take his ship and cargo back to London the very next day.
The ship "Nancy," Captain Lockyer, destined for New York, having been blown off the coast, refitted at Antigua, and proceeding thence to New York, arrived there April 18, 1774. Some of the committee went on board and prevented her coming up to the city, but the captain was allowed to procure some necessary stores, and then, by the advice of the consignees, returned to London without breaking bulk. A quantity of tea—private property—was imported from London, and an application from the consignee to have it returned to England was refused by the custom-house officers. A number of "Mohawks" then took charge of the business, and emptied the whole of it into the sea.
A few days later, Captain Chambers, master of the ship "London," trading to New York, who had on a former occasion received the thanks of her citizens for refusing to bring the East India Company's tea, was detected in introducing eighteen boxes of fine tea, curiously concealed between blankets, etc., which he intended to smuggle, but the people having discovered it, immediately threw it into the sea, and the captain, to escape the wrath of the people, took refuge in Captain Lockyer's vessel, and sailed for England.
Opposition to the obnoxious tea duty had by no means subsided, when, in October, 1774, the brigantine "Peggy Stewart" approached Annapolis, Maryland, with a cargo of tea on board. At once there was a great commotion. Terror seized the owners. They applied to Charles Carroll for advice. He told them there was but one way to save their persons and property from swift destruction, and that was to burn their vessel and cargo instantly, and in sight of the people. It was done, and the flames did for Annapolis what the "Mohawks" had done for Boston.
* * * * *
"This," said Hutchinson, referring to the action of Boston, "was the boldest stroke that had been struck in America." Writing to Sir Francis Bernard, he spoke of it as "an unfortunate event, and what every body supposed impossible after so many men of property had made part of the meetings, and were in danger of being liable for the value of it. It would have given me a much more painful reflection," he continued, "if I had saved it by any concession to a lawless and highly criminal assembly of men, to whose proceedings the loss must be consequently attributed, and the probability is that it was a part of their plan from the beginning."
"We do console ourselves," wrote John Scollay, chairman of the Selectmen of Boston, and prominent in the affair, "that we have acted constitutionally."
"The most magnificent movement of all," wrote John Adams in his diary. "There is a dignity, a majesty, a solemnity in this last effort of the patriots that I greatly admire. This destruction of the tea is so bold, so daring, so firm, so intrepid and inflexible, and it must have so important consequences, and so lasting, that I cannot but consider it as an epoch in history. The question is whether the destruction of the tea was necessary? I apprehend it was absolutely and indispensably so.... To let it be landed would be giving up the principle of taxation by Parliamentary authority, against which the continent has struggled for ten years.... But, it will be said, it might have been left in the care of a committee of the town, or in Castle William. To this many objections may be urged."
The historian Ramsay says: "If the American position was right in relation to taxation, the destruction of the tea was warranted by the great law of self-preservation. For it was not possible for them by any other means within the compass of probability to discharge the duty they owed to their country."
"I cannot but express my admiration of the conduct of this people," writes an 'Impartial Observer' in the "Boston Evening Post" of December 20, 1773.... "I shall return home doubly fortified in my resolution to prevent that deprecated calamity, the landing the tea in Rhode Island, and console myself with the happier assurance that my brethren have not less resolution than their neighbors."
"It became," says Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, "a simple question, which should go under, British tea or American liberty? That volunteer band of Liberty Boys performed their work 'better than they knew,' averting contingencies which must have caused immediate bloodshed, and accomplishing results of the greatest importance to the American cause."
Wm. C. Rives, in his Life of James Madison, says: "This memorable occurrence was undoubtedly, in the immediate sequence of the events which it produced, the proximate cause of the American Revolution."
A Tory pamphleteer of the time gives us the Loyalist view of the affair. He says: "Now the crime of the Bostonians was a compound of the grossest injury and insult. It was an act of the highest insolence towards government, such as mildness itself cannot overlook or forgive. The injustice of the deed was also most atrocious, as it was the destruction of property to a vast amount, when it was known that the nation was obliged in honor to protect it."
We subjoin some of the comments of candid British writers respecting the affair. Mr. Massey says: "The question of taxation was virtually settled by this signal failure to enforce the law, or rather by the absence of any attempt to protect the property of merchants who had made their ventures by the express authority, if not at the instance of the British government."
While speaking of the destruction of the tea as the "crowning outrage," Lecky says, "It will probably strike the reader that every argument which shewed that the tea duty was not a grievance, was equally powerful to show that it was perfectly useless as a means of obtaining a revenue. It would be difficult indeed to find a more curious instance of legislative incapacity than the whole transaction displayed."
"Thursday, December 16, 1773. What a contention is going on far over seas at Boston, New England. The case is well known and still memorable to mankind. British parliament, after nine years of the saddest haggling, and baffling to and fro under constitutional stress of weather, and such east winds and west winds of parliamentary eloquence as seldom were, has made up its mind that America shall pay duty on their teas before infusing them, and America, Boston more especially, is tacitly determined that it will not, and that to avoid mistakes the teas shall never be landed at all....
"Rotch's report done, the chairman (an Adams 'American Cato,' subsequently so called,) dissolves the sorrowful seven thousand, with these words, 'The meeting declares it can do nothing more to save the country," we'll naturally go home then and weep. Hark however! almost on the instant, in front of the Old South Meeting House, a terrific war-whoop, and about fifty Mohawk Indians, with whom Adams seems to be acquainted, and speaks without interpreter: Aha!
"And sure enough, before the stroke of seven these fifty painted Mohawks are forward without noise to Griffin's wharf, have put sentries all round them, and in a great silence of the neighborhood, are busy in three gangs upon the dormant tea ships, opening their chests and punctually shaking them out into the sea. Listening from the distance you could hear distinctly the ripping open of the chests and no other sound. About ten P.M. all was finished, ... the Mohawks gone like a dream, and Boston sleeping more silently even than usual."
In England, the news of the destruction of the tea at Boston was received with astonishment, not unmixed with anger. Men of all parties were swept into the hostile current. Coercive measures were at once brought forward in parliament. In the debates that ensued, a member said, "The town of Boston ought to be knocked about their ears and destroyed." Moderate and judicious men made a gallant stand against the bill shutting up the port of Boston, but the current was irresistible, and the measure, with others of like character, passed by overwhelming votes. Burke, on the question of the repeal of the tea tax, made one of his noblest efforts. Colonel Barre told the House that if they would keep their hands out of the pockets of the Americans they would be obedient subjects. Johnstone, formerly governor of Florida, who had before predicted to the East India Company, that exporting tea on their own account was absurd and would end in loss, now predicted that the Port Bill would, if passed, be productive of a general confederacy to resist the power of Britain, and end in a general revolt. His utterances were prophetic indeed. These measures did unite the colonies, and produced a general revolt ending in American independence.
Accounts vary greatly as to the number and appearance of the tea party. The original body which arrived so opportunely at the door of the "Old South," and which may have included Molineux, Revere, and the more prominent leaders, was probably not numerous. They, however, had passed the word, and trusty coadjutors were not long in following them. Colonel Tudor and Colonel Stevens say they were not disguised, but all other accounts state that they were in the Indian dress, or something resembling it.
The historian, Gordon, places their number at seventeen, "though judged to be many more as they ran across Fort Hill." "Our number was between twenty-eight and thirty," says Wyeth, one of the party. Hutchinson says about fifty, and many have since adopted his statement. Tudor, in his "Life of Otis," says seventy or eighty. Colonel Ebenezer Stevens agrees with him. "None put the number lower than sixty, nor higher than eighty," is the recollection of "a Bostonian," fifty years after the event. John Andrews was told that they mustered on Fort Hill to the number of about two hundred. "From one hundred to one hundred and fifty being more or less actively engaged" thought Hewes, one of the actors. "Two or three hundred dressed like Indians," wrote Dr. Cooper to Dr. Franklin.
These varying estimates may be accounted for in this way. Those who report the smaller number either repeated what they were told, or saw only one of the parties on its way to the ships, while the others speak of the entire body after its separate parts had united at the wharf. Some may mean only such of the party as were in Indian dress. If we place the number on board the ships at fifty or sixty, and estimate those at work by the sides of the vessels at sixty or seventy, we shall probably not be far out of the way, the whole number then aggregating from one hundred and ten to one hundred and thirty. The names of more than one hundred of these have been preserved.
Who were these men? "Depend upon it," said John Adams to Hezekiah Niles in 1819, "These were no ordinary Mohawks. The profound secrecy in which they have held their names, and the total abstinence of plunder, are proofs of the character of the men." But two of the recognized leaders of the people were there,—Dr. Young and Thomas Molineux. Most of them were mechanics and apprentices, but they were mechanics of the stamp of Revere, Howard, Wheeler, Crane and Peck, men who could restrain and keep in due subordination the more fiery and dangerous element, always present in popular demonstrations. That element was not wholly absent on this occasion, for Mackintosh, the leader in the Stamp Act riots, was present with "his chickens," as he called them, and active in destroying the tea. There were also professional men, like Dr. Young and Dr. Story, and merchants, such as Molineux, Proctor, Melvill, Palmer, May, Pitts and Davis, men of high character and standing, so that all classes were fairly represented. As might be expected, those appointed for the work, and who were in Indian dress, were largely men of family and position in Boston.
A writer in the American Magazine of History attempts to discredit the statement that the party were in Indian dress, intimating that it was an afterthought, intended to deceive the authorities, and lead them to the belief that the disguise was too complete to allow of identification for arrest or punishment. Cavils like this are superfluous in view of the abundant testimony to the contrary. The sworn protest of Captain Bruce, of the "Eleanor," one of the tea-ships, given on a subsequent page in this volume, is of itself sufficient evidence upon this point. The number of those who, prepared as they were, on the spur of the moment, really bore any very great resemblance to Indians, was no doubt small. A large number of the actors hastily assumed such disguises as were nearest at hand.
No doubt the principals in this transaction pledged one another to keep their connection with it a profound secret, and they did so, but the young apprentices and volunteers, who, without premeditation, joined the party on its way to the wharf, were under no such restraint, and we can only wonder that they made no revelation concerning an event of such importance. It was not until a very late period of their lives that any of them opened their lips publicly about it, and when more than half a century had elapsed since it occurred.
The names of fifty-eight of these men, given below, are taken from Thatcher's "Traits of the Tea Party," published in 1835, while nine or ten of them were yet living, the source whence all later lists have been derived. Possibly this list is identical with that mentioned as having once been in the possession of Peter, the son of Benjamin Edes, the printer. Of this list it is safe to say that, while far from being complete, it is correct as far as it goes. The names that follow the list of 1835, have been gleaned from a great variety of sources, principally family tradition.
"List of the tea party, furnished in 1835, by an aged Bostonian, well acquainted with the subject, of the persons generally supposed, within his knowledge, to have been more or less actively engaged." Those starred were then living:
*George R.T. Hewes. Joseph Shed. John Crane. Josiah Wheeler. Thomas Urann. Adam Collson. S. Coolidge. Joseph Payson. James Brewer. Thomas Bolter. Edward Proctor. Samuel Sloper. Thomas Gerrish. Nathaniel Green. *Benj. Simpson. Joseph Eayres. Joseph Lee. William Molineux. Paul Revere. John Spurr. Thomas Moore. Samuel Howard. Matthew Loring. Thomas Spear. Daniel Ingoldson. Richard Hunnewell. John Hooton. *Jonathan Hunnewell. Thomas Chase. Thomas Melvill. *Henry Purkitt. Edward C. Howe. Ebenezer Stevens. Nicholas Campbell. John Russell. Thomas Porter. William Hendley. Benjamin Rice. Samuel Gore. Nathaniel Frothingham. Moses Grant. *Peter Slater. James Starr. Abraham Tower. *William Pierce. William Russell. T. Gammell. —— McIntosh. Dr. Thomas Young. Joshua Wyeth. Edward Dolbear. —— Martin. Samuel Peck. Lendall Pitts. *Samuel Sprague. Benjamin Clarke. Richard Hunnewell, Jr. *John Prince.
Additional names of the tea party, derived principally from family tradition:
Nathaniel Barber. Samuel Barnard. Henry Bass. Edward Bates. Nathaniel Bradlee. David Bradlee. Josiah Bradlee. Thomas Bradlee. Seth Ingersoll Brown. Stephen Bruce. Benjamin Burton. George Carleton. Gilbert Colesworthy. John Cochran. Gershom Collier. James Foster Condy. Samuel Cooper. Thomas Dana, Jr. Robert Davis. Joseph Eaton. —— Eckley. William Etheridge. Samuel Fenno. Samuel Foster. John Fulton. Samuel Hammond. John Hicks. Samuel Hobbs. Thomas Hunstable. Abraham Hunt. David Kinnison. Amos Lincoln. Thomas Machin. Archibald Macneil. John May. —— Mead. Anthony Morse. Eliphalet Newell. Joseph Pearse Palmer. Jonathan Parker. John Peters. Samuel Pitts. Henry Prentiss. John Randall. Joseph Roby. Phineas Stearns. Robert Sessions. Elisha Story. James Swan. John Truman. Isaac Williams. David Williams. Jeremiah Williams. Thomas Williams. Nathaniel Willis.
Boston Tea Party.
MAJOR NATHANIEL BARBER,
A prominent merchant and patriot of Boston, was one of the famous "Whig Club" of ante-revolutionary days, in which were James Otis, Dr. Church, Dr. Warren and other leaders of the popular party. In it Civil Rights and the British Constitution were standing topics for discussion. He was one of the committee of correspondence, from its creation in 1772, and afterwards of the committee of safety, and was naval officer of the port of Boston in 1784. He joined St. Andrew's Lodge of Freemasons in 1780, and died at his house, in Bear Lane, (Richmond Street,) October 13, 1787; aged 59. Before the Revolution he kept an insurance office in Fish (now North) Street.
A major in the Revolutionary army, was born in Watertown, Mass., June 19, 1737; died August 8, 1782.
A prominent "Son of Liberty," a merchant on Orange Street, residing in Rawson's Lane, (Bromfield Street,) died June 5, 1813; aged 74. He was the first volunteer on the roll of the guard of the tea-ship, November 29, 1773. Drake ("Old Landmarks of Boston,") says Samuel Adams and Major Melvill often passed a convivial evening, and ate a Sunday dinner, at his house.
CAPTAIN THOMAS BOLTER,
A housewright, residing on Nassau (now Tremont) Street, died in August, 1811; aged 76. Mary, his widow, died May 30, 1813; aged 76.
DAVID, THOMAS, NATHANIEL, AND JOSIAH BRADLEE,
Were brothers, who lived in the house yet standing, on the southerly corner of Hollis and Tremont Streets. Their sister, Sarah, assisted her husband, John Fulton, and her brothers, to disguise themselves, having made preparations for the emergency a day or two beforehand, and afterwards followed them to the wharf, and saw the tea thrown into the dock. Soon returning, she had hot water in readiness for them when they arrived, and assisted in removing the paint from their faces. As the story goes, before they could change their clothes, a British officer looked in to see if the young men were at home, having a suspicion that they were in the tea business. He found them in bed, and to all appearance asleep, they having slipped into bed without removing their "toggery," and feigning sleep. The officer departed satisfied. Mrs. Fulton helped to dress the wounds of the soldiers who were in the battle of Bunker Hill. She died in Medford, Mass., in 1836, and is the authority for the above statement. Of the brothers,—
David, was born November 24, 1742; died March 10, 1811.
Thomas, born December 4, 1744; died Oct. —, 1805.
Nathaniel, born February 16, 1746; died May 8, 1813.
Josiah, born March 24, 1754; died October 2, 1798.
The old house, built by Nathaniel, in 1771, is now the residence of his grandson, Nathaniel Bradlee Doggett, to whose son, Samuel Bradlee Doggett, I am indebted for the above facts.
Pump and blockmaker, in Summer Street, died in April, 1805. He took an active part in the early movements of the Revolution; was one of the volunteer guard on the "Dartmouth," November 30, 1773, and prominent in the destruction of her cargo, and was also one of the young men who removed at noon-day, and while it was under guard, the cannon from the gun-house on West Street, which afterwards found its way to Washington's camp. Some of the tea party met at his house, and were assisted in preparing themselves by his wife and daughter, who blackened their faces with burnt cork. He was a confidential messenger between Governor Hancock and Washington, and was afterwards a prisoner of war, having been taken in a privateer, in 1781. He was an early member of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, and was also a member of the Massachusetts Lodge of Freemasons in 1792. His son, Thomas, a member of the City Council of Boston in 1825-26, died June 4, 1859; aged 78.
SETH INGERSOLL BROWN
Was born in Cambridge, Mass., March 13, 1750. He was the son of William Brown, born in 1683. Mr. Brown's trade was that of a house carpenter. In the lower part of his shop, in Charlestown, was stored the ammunition afterwards used in the battle of Bunker Hill. He was in full sympathy with the cause of liberty; was one of the "Mohawks" on the memorable 16th of December, and on that occasion was masked and painted, and bore a club. He used to relate to his daughters, that on returning home from the scene of destruction, he had to fight his way through the excited crowd, with his back to the houses, to avoid discovery. They kept his connection with the affair a profound secret many years, and when it was spoken of in their old age, excused their silence regarding it on the ground that they thought it was a disgrace, like a riot or a mob, and ought not to be told. At Bunker Hill he was wounded in the leg, and also received an injury to his eye. He said he should never forget the cry that went up during the battle, of "No ammunition! no ammunition!" Mr. Brown served as an assistant commissary during the siege of Boston, and continued with the army until the war closed. He was paid off in worthless Continental money—there was no other—and it is related that his spunky little wife, indignant at the poor reward of such sacrifices as her husband had made, on receiving it from him, threw it all into the fire. She is described as short, stout and handsome, with long, straight, black hair, that fell almost to her feet.
After the war, Mr. Brown, with impaired health and eyesight, kept a tavern successively in Charlestown, Cambridge, Newton Corner, the Punch Bowl in Roxbury, and finally the Sun tavern, in Wing's Lane, (Elm Street,) Boston. He died in Charlestown, Mass., March 9, 1809, leaving several children by his second wife, Sarah Godding, of Cambridge. Three of his daughters, Cynthia, Harriet and Angeline—lived to be over eighty,—retained their memories and their mental faculties to the last, and preserved many interesting reminiscences of their father's revolutionary career. Mr. Brown was a good singer, and they recall this verse of a song, having reference to the battle of Bunker Hill:
"We marched down to Charlestown ferry, And there we had our battle; The shot it flew like pepper and salt, And made the old town rattle."
The name of Seth Ingersoll Brown is recorded on the monument, in Hope Cemetery, Worcester, Mass., erected in 1870, to the memory of Captain Peter Slater, and his associates of the Boston tea party. He is buried in the Granary burying-ground.
Of Mr. Brown's descendants, known in public life, may be mentioned Rev. John W. Hanson, D.D., of Chicago, Ill.; Rev. Warren H. Cudworth, D.D., formerly of East Boston; Harriet H. Robinson, who married William S. Robinson, ("Warrington,") journalist, and clerk of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1862 to 1873, and their elder daughter, Harriet R. Shattuck.
"Though none of his descendants will continue to bear his name,—the male branch being extinct in the third generation," writes his grand-daughter, Mrs. H.H. Robinson, "some of them have inherited his spirit of resistance to laws that compel them—his only surviving representatives,—"to submit to taxation without representation." To this lady we are indebted for the materials from which this notice is derived.
Some lines, written in 1773, by Susannah Clarke, "Warrington's" great grandmother's sister, serve to manifest the spirit that pervaded the country when non-tea drinking was held to be a religious duty by American women:
"We'll lay hold of card and wheel, And join our hands to turn and reel; We'll turn the tea all in the sea, And all to keep our liberty.
We'll put on home-spun garbs, And make tea of our garden herbs; When we are dry we'll drink small beer, And FREEDOM shall our spirits cheer."
Was a merchant, doing business at 28 State Street, and was one of the volunteer guard on the "Dartmouth." He was the first inspector of beef and pork, appointed by the State of Massachusetts, and was a man of sound judgment and inflexible integrity. He became a member of the Masonic Lodge of St. Andrew in 1779, and master in 1782. He died July 26, 1801.
COLONEL BENJAMIN BURTON
Was born in the old Burton House, Thomaston, Maine, December 9, 1749, and died in Warren, Maine, May 23, 1835. Happening to be in Boston on a visit on the memorable 16th of December, 1773, he went with the crowd to the Old South Meeting House, and at the close of the meeting, heard the cry "Tea party! tea party!" Joining the party that boarded the tea-ships, he labored with all his might in throwing the tea into the water. It being about low tide, the tea rested on the bottom, and when the tide rose it floated, and was lodged by the surf along the shore. He was subsequently an officer in the Revolutionary army; was present at the surrender of Burgoyne, and himself fell into the hands of the enemy, in February, 1781, sharing in the imprisonment of General Peleg Wadsworth, at Castine, and in the daring escape of that officer. After the war, he was eight years a magistrate, and was often a member of the legislature.
A native of the Island of Malta, died in Warren, R.I., July 23, 1829; aged ninety-seven. He came to this country just previous to the Revolution, during a great part of which he was employed in the marine service, and by many deeds of noble daring, aided the cause of liberty, and evinced his attachment to his adopted country. He had been a resident of Warren fifty-four years.
One of the most active of the "Sons of Liberty," was a distiller, near the famous Liberty Tree, at the junction of Orange, Essex and Newbury Streets. In the office of Chase & Speakman the meetings of the committee of the "Sons" were held, of one of which John Adams has left an account. Chase was one of those who prepared and suspended the effigies of Bute and Oliver from Liberty Tree, on August 14, 1765. He was one of the volunteer guard on the "Dartmouth," on the night of November 29, 1773; was a member of the "Anti-Stamp Fire Society," formed soon after the passage of the Stamp Act, in 1765, and joined St. Andrew's Lodge of Freemasons in 1769.
Was a cooper, in Ship Street, and in 1807 resided in Prince Street. He became a member of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association in 1801; of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1806, and died in 1840.
Born in East Boston, in 1750; died in Belfast, Maine, October 30, 1839. The monument there erected to his memory bears the following inscription: "He was one of the memorable tea party at Boston, December 16, 1773." His only surviving son, of the same name, now (1884) resides at Belfast, at the age of eighty-three.
Born in Boston, December 23, 1744, removed to Nantucket, Mass., and died there in 1818.
Of Chesterfield, Mass., died about the year 1825.
Was a leather dresser, near the "Great Trees," on Essex Street, as we learn by his advertisement soon after the passage of the Stamp Act, in which he says: "Understanding that many worthy tradesmen had agreed to wear nothing but leather for their working habits, 'he offers' to dress all sorts of skins suitable for that purpose." Collson was one of the volunteer guard on the "Dartmouth" on the night of November 30, 1773, and was said to be the person who, at the close of the meeting of December 16th, at the Old South, shouted from the gallery, "Boston harbor a tea-pot to-night!" He became a member of St. Andrew's Lodge of Freemasons in 1763, and at the time of his death, February 16, 1798, aged sixty, resided at 59 Marlboro' (Washington) Street. He was a member of the "Long Room" Club.
JAMES FOSTER CONDY,
A bookseller in Boston before the Revolution, doing business in Union Street, "opposite the cornfields," died in Haverhill, Mass., July 12, 1809.
Was born in Boston, in 1755, and was living in Georgetown, D.C., in 1838. He was commissioned second lieutenant in Crane's artillery regiment, February 1, 1777; quartermaster 14th May, 1778; lieutenant and adjutant in 1783. He was inspector of pot and pearl ashes in New York city and county, from 1808 to 1830. Adjutant-General Samuel Cooper, of the United States army, afterwards a general in the Confederate army, who died in 1877, was his son.
Colonel of the Massachusetts regiment of artillery in the Continental line of the Revolutionary army, was born in Milton, Mass., 7th December, 1744, and died in Whiting, Maine, 21st August, 1805. His education was scanty. In 1759, when only fifteen years of age, his father, Abijah was drafted as a soldier in the French war. John offered to go in his father's stead, and was laughed at on account of his youth. Nevertheless, the boy went and proved himself a brave lad, saving the life of a lame fellow-soldier, who had fallen when pursued by a party of Indians, at St. John's. He came to Boston in early life, married, and established himself in business as a house carpenter,—his house and shop being in Tremont Street, opposite Hollis. He assisted Major Paddock in setting out the elm trees on the Tremont Street mall, about the year 1765. These trees were old acquaintances of Crane's, having, like him, been transplanted from Milton. Naturally enough, in one of his ardent temperament, he at once identified himself with the active Sons of Liberty. One of the famous tea party, his career came near being permanently ended by the fall of a derrick, used in hoisting out the tea, which, falling upon him, knocked him senseless. His comrades, supposing him killed, bore him to a neighboring carpenter's shop, and secreted the body under a pile of shavings. They afterwards took him to his home, where good nursing and a strong constitution, soon brought him round. The late Colonel Joseph Lovering, who lived opposite to Crane, used to relate that he held the light on that memorable evening, while Crane, and other young men, his neighbors, disguised themselves for the occasion. House building and other branches of industry having been paralyzed by the "Boston Port Bill," Crane, with his partner, Ebenezer Stevens, (also one of the tea party,) went to Providence, R.I., where they followed their business with success, until the war broke out. Both had been members of Paddock's artillery company, a corps famous for having furnished a large number of valuable officers to that arm of the service in the Revolutionary army, among whom may be named John Crane, Ebenezer Stevens, William Perkins, Henry Burbeck, John Lillie, and David Bryant. Crane had been commissioned by Governor Wanton, captain-lieutenant of the train of artillery of the colony of Rhode Island, December 12, 1774, (barely one year after the destruction of the tea,) and immediately after receiving the news of the battle of Lexington, he was made captain of the train attached to the Rhode Island "Army of Observation," commanded by General Nathaniel Greene. Crane's command, "all well accoutred, with four excellent field-pieces marched, in the latter part of May, to join the American army near Boston. They made a very military appearance, and are, without exception, as complete a body of men as any in the king's dominions." Stevens was a lieutenant in this company. Possessing a remarkably keen vision, Crane was exceedingly skilful as an artillerist, a talent he had frequent opportunities to display during the siege of Boston. Early in the morning of July 8, 1775, Majors Tupper and Crane, with a number of volunteers, attacked the British advance guard at Brown's House, on Boston Neck, (near the corner of Newton Street and Blackstone Square,) routed them, and burned two houses. This was regarded as a brave and well-executed affair, and is noteworthy as being the only hostile encounter that has ever taken place in the old limits of Boston. During the siege he was stationed at the Roxbury line, and was engaged in several skirmishes on the islands in the harbor. Commissioned major of Knox's regiment, January 1, 1776, he accompanied the army to New York, and while cannonading a British frigate which was passing his batteries at Corlaers Hook, was severely wounded by a cannon ball, which carried off a part of his foot, disabling him for several months, and finally causing his death—the wound having closed. He raised in Massachusetts, in 1777, the 3d regiment of Continental artillery, which he commanded till the war ended, when he was brevetted a brigadier-general, (October 10, 1783,) his commission as colonel dating from January 1, 1777. This corps, officered chiefly from those who had been trained under Paddock, Gridley and Knox, was not exceeded in discipline, valor, and usefulness by any in the service. It was principally employed with the main army, and was an essential auxiliary in the most important operations. Portions of it were also with Sullivan in the Rhode Island campaign, with Gates at Saratoga, and in the heroic defence of Red Bank, on the Delaware. After the peace, Crane formed a partnership with Colonel Lemuel Trescott, in the lumber business, in Passamaquoddy, Maine, in which they were unsuccessful. The connection was soon dissolved, and Crane finally settled in Whiting, Washington County, Maine, where he had a grant of two hundred acres of land, for his Revolutionary services, from the legislature of Massachusetts. Colonel Crane was five feet eight inches in height, stout and thick set. He possessed great energy, resolution and courage, and at critical moments was perfectly cool. In 1790, he was commissioned judge of the Court of Common Pleas, by Governor Hancock. While at the lines on Boston Neck, Crane aimed a ball at a house near his own, belonging to Rev. Dr. Byles, the Tory, but succeeded only in knocking the ridge pole from his own dwelling. He became a Freemason in 1781, joining an army lodge at West Point, and was also a member of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati. Colonel Crane, in 1767, married Mehitabel Wheeler, believed to have been a sister of Captain Josiah Wheeler, a member of the tea party. His three daughters married three sons of Colonel John Allan, who, with his Indian allies, rendered valuable service to the patriot cause in protecting throughout the Revolutionary war, the exposed north-eastern frontier. William Allan, who married Alice Crane, was the grandfather of George H. Allan, of Boston, from whom many of the above facts have been derived, and who has made extensive collections relative to the Allan and Crane families.
MAJOR ROBERT DAVIS,
Merchant, importer of groceries, wines and liquors, did business at No. 1 Cornhill, and resided in Orange Street. He was the son of Joshua and Sarah (Pierpont) Davis, and was born 24th January, 1747. He was a Son of Liberty, and as an officer in Crafts's artillery regiment, took part in the expulsion of the British fleet from Boston harbor, ultimately attaining the rank of major. Member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1786. His brothers, Caleb and Amasa, were also prominent Revolutionary characters,—the latter having been forty years quartermaster-general of Massachusetts. Robert Davis became a member of St. Andrew's Lodge of Freemasons in 1777, and died in November, 1798. His daughter, Clarissa, widow of William Ely, was living in Hartford in 1873, at the age of eighty-two.
Was a fellow-apprentice, and afterwards a partner with Henry Purkitt, in the business of a cooper, in South Street. His residence was near Dr. Eliot's Meeting House, where he died, in April, 1796.
CAPTAIN JOSEPH EATON
Was an eccentric and excitable, but patriotic citizen, a hatter by trade. He claimed to have hauled down the first British colors at the outset of the Revolution, and to have loaded a cannon in State Street to prevent the regulars from landing, in 1774. He was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company; was an ardent democrat, and late in life wore a cocked hat, and styled himself "general."
Was one of the volunteer guard on the "Dartmouth" on the night of November 30, 1773. He was a housewright in Essex Street, in 1789.
A barber, was informed against for his participation in the destruction of the tea, and committed to prison. The Sons of Liberty supported him while in confinement, and also provided for his family. He was finally liberated, and the person who informed against him was tarred and feathered, and paraded through the town with labels on his breast and back bearing his name, and the word "informer" in large letters.
Who was a mason, while engaged in throwing the tea overboard, was recognized by his apprentice, Samuel Sprague.
A housewright, was born in Boston, in 1745, and died in 1806. He lived in a large wooden house on Tremont Street, near Hollis Street, and was a near neighbor of Crane, Lovering and the Bradlees. He was a man of unusual reticence, but noted for courage and patriotism. From 1773 till his death, he kept a vow never to drink tea. In 1797 he married Mary, the sister of Joseph Hiller, the first collector of the port of Salem, and was the father of Captain John Fenno, a pioneer in the China trade.
CAPTAIN SAMUEL FOSTER,
Of Roxbury, was a sergeant in Captain Moses Whiting's minute company, at Lexington, and as a captain in Greaton's regiment, served at Ticonderoga, and in other campaigns of the Revolutionary war.
A coachmaker, at No. 5 West Street, died January 22, 1825; aged seventy-nine.
Was of Scotch descent, his father bearing the same name, having come to Boston about the year 1740. The son was born in Boston, in 1749, and died there in 1827. His trade was that of a carpenter, in which capacity he served seven years in the construction department of the Revolutionary army. He was a participant in the Stamp Act riots, and in the destruction of the tea, and in his later years used to describe the latter affair, with great minuteness, in the presence of his family, and on the anniversary of the day would act over again the part he then performed. He married Margaret Urann, by whom he had fifteen children. As the initials J and T were in old times interchangeable, there is no doubt but this is the person mentioned in the list of 1835.
Communicated by Prof. Wm. Gammell, of Brown University, and Rev. Sereno Dwight Gammell, of Wellington, O., grandsons of John Gammell.
Born in Boston, February 6, 1751; died November 16, 1831. Captain John Gore, his father, a lieutenant in the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, in 1753, had, by industry, acquired considerable wealth. Being a Tory, he left Boston with the British army in 1776, but afterwards returned. Samuel followed his father's trade, that of a painter, in Court Street, at the corner of Gore's Alley, (Brattle Street,) but, unlike him, was an ardent patriot. He was one of the party of young men who, at noon-day, and under the eyes of the British guard, carried off and secreted the cannon from the gun-house that stood opposite the mall at the corner of West Street. His companions in this daring feat were Nathaniel Balch, James Brewer, Moses Grant, Jeremiah Gridley and ——Whiston. Mr. Gore was one of those who established the glass-works in Essex Street, a speculation by which he unfortunately lost all the accumulations of many years of untiring industry. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge of St. Andrew, in 1778, and was the first treasurer of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. Governor Christopher Gore was a younger brother. He was a man of superior intelligence, kindness of heart, and courtesy of manner.
Son of Samuel, and father of Deacon Moses Grant, was born in Boston, March 13, 1743; died December 22, 1817. He was an upholsterer, on Union Street, and his son, Moses, was a partner with him until his death. He was an ardent patriot; was one of the volunteer guard on the "Dartmouth," on the night of November 29, 1773; was one of those who seized and carried off the cannon from the gun-house, on West Street, and one of the renowned "tea party." Member of the company of cadets, and a deacon of Brattle Street church.
Was in 1789 register of deeds, at 42 Cornhill. He was an ardent Son of Liberty, and was present at the public celebration in Dorchester, where three hundred of them gathered, August 14, 1769.
One of the tea party, died at Wadsborough, Vt., January 4, 1842; aged ninety-three. In 1774, he began a settlement near Otter Creek, N.Y., but the hostility of the Indians drove him to Vermont, and he fixed his residence at Wadsborough. He was an industrious farmer, and an active patriot.
A Revolutionary pensioner, formerly of Roxbury, died at Waldoborough, Me., in February, 1830; aged eighty-two. He was a mason, on Newbury Street, Boston, in 1796.
GEORGE ROBERT TWELVES HEWES,
Born in Boston, September 5, 1742, died at Richfield, Otsego County, N.Y., November 5, 1840, at the great age of ninety-eight. His education was scanty; farming, fishing, and shoemaking being his chief occupations. Excitable and patriotic, he took part in numerous ante-Revolutionary disturbances in Boston, and engaged in the naval, and afterwards in the military, service of his country during the war. His residence was at the Bulls Head, an old house that stood on the north-east corner of Congress and Water Streets. The most detailed account we have of the destruction of the tea in Boston, was given by him, in "Traits of the Tea Party," by B.B. Thatcher, published in New York, in 1835. An oil portrait of Hewes is in the possession of his grandson, Mr. Henry Hewes, of West Medford, Mass.
Born in Cambridge, May 23, 1725, was one of the earliest martyrs to the cause of American liberty, having been killed by the British on their retreat from Lexington, April 19, 1775. John, his son, was a printer, and became in 1773, a partner with Nathaniel Mills, in the publication of the "Post Boy," a Tory sheet.
Born in Lincoln, Mass., in 1750, died at Sturbridge, Mass., in May, 1823. While in the employ of Simeon Pratt, a tanner, of Roxbury, he aided in throwing the tea overboard, and afterwards said that chests of Bohea, weighing three hundred and sixty pounds, were rather heavy to lift. He settled in Sturbridge, as a farmer, also carrying on his trade of tanner and currier. By his wife, Lucy Munroe, of Lexington, he had four children.
An apprentice, while at work on the tea, saw a person who looked like a countryman, coming up with a small boat to the ship's side, evidently intending to secure a cargo for his own use. He, and three or four other "North Enders," as full of spirit as himself, being directed to dislodge the interloper, jumped over and beat the canoe from under him "in the twinkling of an eye." Hooton was an oarmaker, at Hooton's wharf, Fish Street, in 1789. In 1806, he was a wood-wharfinger, on North Street, residing in Prince Street. In 1838, his residence was in Chelsea, Mass.
A Boston shipwright, resided at the "Mansion House," as it was called, which stood on the site of the Mariner's Church, North Square. He died here in January, 1797, at the age of forty-five, and was buried in Copp's Hill. His wife, Anna Lillie, the sister of Major John Lillie, of the Revolutionary army, died in North Andover, in 1804. Two of our well-known fellow citizens, Henry Lillie Pierce and Edward L. Pierce, are grandsons of Major Lillie. Theophilus Lillie, the Tory trader, who was mobbed during the tea excitement, was Major Lillie's uncle. Caroline, the youngest child of Samuel and Anna Lillie Howard, born October 3, 1794, married Rev. Samuel Gilman, D.D., of Charleston, S.C. She is still living, at the age of ninety, and resides at Tiverton, R.I., with a daughter Mrs. Bowen.
EDWARD C. HOWE,
Ropemaker, died in September, 1821, aged seventy-nine. E.C. Howe & Son (Joseph) dissolved partnership August 1, 1800. Howe's rope-walk was one of seven, on the west side of Pearl Street, all of which were burnt in July, 1794.
The son of Richard, followed his father's trade, of a mason. He was born in Boston, May 19, 1759; died in April, 1842. He was several times a selectman of Boston, and member of both branches of the legislature; was connected with many benevolent institutions, and was for nine years president of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. He was one of the principal agents in the establishment of the glass-works, in Boston and Chelmsford, and its failure, in 1822, made him a poor man. For many years he had a country residence at Newton, which was the seat of a generous hospitality. The latter part of his life was passed in seclusion, at Roxbury, where, in 1800, he married the widow Theoda Davis. Jonathan, his brother, and Richard, his father, were also in the tea party.