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THE BOSTON TEA-PARTY
BY JOHN ANDREWS (ADAPTED)
ON November 29, 1773, there arrived in Boston Harbor a ship
carrying an hundred and odd chests of the detested tea. The
people in the country roundabout, as well as the town's
folk, were unanimous against allowing the landing of it; but
the agents in charge of the consignment persisted in their
refusal to take the tea back to London. The town bells were
rung, for a general muster of the citizens. Handbills were
stuck up calling on "Friends! Citizens! Countrymen!"
Mr. Rotch, the owner of the ship, found himself exposed not
only to the loss of his ship, but to the loss of the
money-value of the tea itself, if he should attempt to send
her back without clearance papers from the custom-house; for
the admiral kept a vessel in readiness to seize any ship
which might leave without those papers. Therefore, Mr. Rotch
declared that his ship should not carry back the tea without
either the proper clearance or the promise of full indemnity
for any losses he might incur.
 Matters continued thus for some days, when a general muster
was called of the people of Boston and of all the
neighboring towns. They met, to the number of five or six
thousand, at ten o'clock in the morning, in the Old South
Meeting-House; where they passed a unanimous vote that the
tea should go out of the harbor that afternoon!
A committee, with Mr. Rotch, was sent to the custom-house to
demand a clearance. This the collector said he could not
give without the duties first being paid. Mr. Rotch was then
sent to ask for a pass from the governor, who returned
answer that "consistent with the rules of government and his
duty to the king he could not grant one without they
produced a previous clearance from the office."
By the time Mr. Rotch returned to the Old South
Meeting-House with this message, the candles were lighted
and the house still crowded with people. When the governor's
message was read a prodigious shout was raised, and soon
afterward the moderator declared the meeting dissolved. This
caused another general shout, outdoors and in, and what with
the noise of breaking up the meeting, one might have thought
that the inhabitants of the infernal regions had been let
That night there mustered upon Fort Hill about two hundred
strange figures, said to be
 Indians from Narragansett. They were clothed in blankets,
with heads muffled, and had copper-colored countenances.
Each was armed with a hatchet or axe, and a pair of pistols.
They spoke a strange, unintelligible jargon.
They proceeded two by two to Griffin's Wharf, where three
tea-ships lay, each with one hundred and fourteen chests of
the ill-fated article on board. And before nine o'clock in
the evening every chest was knocked into pieces and flung
over the sides.
Not the least insult was offered to any one, save one
Captain Conner, who had ripped up the linings of his coat
and waistcoat, and, watching his opportunity, had filled
them with tea. But, being detected, he 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.
Nothing but their desire not to make a disturbance prevented
his being tarred and feathered.
The tea being thrown overboard, all the Indians disappeared
in a most marvelous fashion.
The next day, if a stranger had walked through the streets
of Boston, and had observed the calm composure of the
people, he would hardly have thought that ten thousand
pounds sterling of East India Company's tea had been
destroyed the night before.