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Database/Documents (AC3):The Boston Tea Party

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Tea chests destroyed. A most curious and remarkable event took place on Griffin's Warf, Boston Thursday 16 December.

An assemblage of individuals dressed in buckskin with faces painted in the fashion of Indian natives convened at the wharf and proceeded to board the Darthmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver in orderly manner. These Indian, or perhaps no, as was the general discernment of those who witnessed these events, equipped themselves with small hatchets, which they denominated as tomahawks.

These ships held within their cargoes chests of tea numbering three to four hundred. The commanders of the vessels had publicly declared that if the rebels, as they were pleased to style the Bostonians, should not withdraw their opposition to the landing of the tea before the following day, they should on that day force it on shore, under the cover of their cannon's mouth.

Once aboard, the presumptive Indians opened the hatches and made to take out the chests of tea and threw them overboard, first cutting and splitting the chests with their tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water. In about three hours they had thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to be found in the ships. During the time they were throwing the tea overboard, there were several attempts made by some of the citizens of Boston and its vicinity to carry off small quantities of tea for their family use. To effect that object, they would watch their opportunity to snatch up a handful from the deck, where it became plentifully scattered, and put it into their pockets. Some of these same were met with kicks and hooting from the presumptive Indians.

Earlier on this day, there was a meeting of the county of Suffolk, convened at Old South in Boston, for the purpose of consulting on what measures might be considered expedient to prevent the landing of the tea, or secure the people from the collection of the duty. At that meeting, no satisfactory answer was obtained after enquiries were sent to Governor Hutchinson, and Mr. Adams concluded with the observation that the "meeting could do nothing further to save the country."

Beyond the chests of tea, there was no damage done to any of the ships. The destroyers of the chests were seen to sweep the decks clean of tea leaves after the chests had been thrown to sea.

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