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A Shoemaker and also the Tea Party

by George Robert Twelve Hewes

George Robert Twelve Hewes, a Boston shoemaker, participated in plenty of of the key events that the Revolutionary crisis. Over fifty percent a century later, Hewes described his experience to James Hawkes. When Parliament passed the Tea plot in 1773, homesteaders refused to enable cargoes the tea to it is in unloaded. In the evening of December 16, through Hewes leading one group, the colonists dressed in “the costume of a Indian.” they boarded the pearls in Boston harbor and dropped the tea overboard. Hewes’ account melted light on how resistance came to be revolution. The“Boston Tea Party,” as it ended up being known in the 19th century, ended up being a powerful symbol the the Revolution. And also Hewes, artisan and ordinary citizen, was commemorated as a venerable veteran of the battle for Independence.

Although the excitment which had been occasioned by the wanton massacre of our citizens, had actually in part measure abated, the was never extinguished until open hostilities commenced, and also we had asserted our independence. The citizens of Boston ongoing inflexible in your demand, that every brothers soldier must be withdrawn native the town, and within 4 days after ~ the massacre, the whole army decamped. But the procedures of the brothers parliament, which led the American nests to a separation from that government, were not abandoned. And also to lug into execution your favourite job of taxing their American colonies, they employed a variety of ships to transport a big quantity the tea right into the colonies, of i beg your pardon the American human being were apprised, and also while resolute measures were taking in all the funding towns to withstand the project of british taxation, the pearl arrived, which the people of Boston had long expected.The specific object of sending out this cargo that tea come Boston at the time, and also the catastrophe i beg your pardon befell it, have been referred to in the preface. The has additionally been recorded, amongst the most important and interesting occasions in the history of the American revolution; but the rehersal that it in ~ this time, by a witness, and an actorin that tragicomical scene, excitesin the recollection of that a novel and extraordinary interest.On mine inquiring that Hewes if the knew who an initial proposed the job of destroying the tea, to protect against its gift landed, he responded that he did not; neither did he know who or what number to be to volunteer their services for that purpose. Yet from the significant allusion of some persons in whom I had confidence, along with the expertise I had of the spirit of those times, I had actually no doubt however that a sufficient number of associates would certainly accompany me in that enterprise.The tea damaged was consisted of in three ships, laying close to each other, in ~ what was dubbed at the time Griffin’s wharf, and were surrounded by armed ships that war; the leaders of which had publicly declared, that if the rebels, together they were pleased to style the Bostonians, must not retract their opposition to the landing that the tea before a certain day, the 17th day of December, 1773, they need to on that day force it ~ above shore, under the sheathe of their cannon’s month. ~ above the day preceding the seventeenth, there to be a conference of the citizen of the ar of Suffolk, convened at one of the churches in Boston, because that the purpose of consulting ~ above what measures can be thought about expedient to prevent the landing of the tea, or for sure the world from the arsenal of the duty. At that conference a committee to be appointed to wait on governor Hutchinson, and also request the to inform them even if it is he would take any type of measures to fulfill the civilization on the object of the meeting. To the very first application that this committee, the governor told them the would provide them a definite answer by five o’clock in the afternoon. At the hour appointed, the committee again repaired come the governor’s house, and also on inquiry found he had gone to his nation seat in ~ Milton, a distance of about six miles. As soon as the committee returned and informed the meeting of the lack of the governor, there to be a perplexed murmur amongst the members, and the conference was instantly dissolved, plenty of of castle crying out, permit every male do his duty, and be true come his country; and there was a basic huzza because that Griffins wharf. That was currently evening, and also I automatically dressed myself in the costume of one Indian, equipped through a tiny hatchet, i beg your pardon I and my associates denominated the tomahawk, with which, and a club, after having actually painted mine face and hands through coal dust in the shop the a blacksmith, ns repaired come Griffins wharf, where the ships lay that included the tea. When I very first appeared in the street, after gift thus disguised, I fell in with plenty of who to be dressed, equipped and painted together I was, and also who fell in with me, and also marched in order come the place of ours destination. Once we came down on the wharf, there were three of our number who assumed an authority to direct our operations, come which we easily submitted. They split us into three parties, because that the objective of boarding the 3 ships which had the tea in ~ the very same time. The name of him who commanded the department to which i was assigned, to be Leonard Pitt. The names of the other leaders I never ever knew. Us were automatically ordered by the respective leaders to plank all the ships at the exact same time, which we promptly obeyed. The command of the division to which i belonged, as soon as us were on plank the ship, appointed me boatswain, and ordered me to go to the captain and demand of him the tricks to the hatches and also a dozen candles. I made the demand accordingly, and the captain promptly replied, and also delivered the articles; but requested me at the exact same time to carry out no damages to the delivery or rigging. We then were ordered through our command to open the hatches, and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard, and also we immediately proceeded to execute his orders; first cutting and also splitting the chests through our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to reveal them to the effects of the water. In about three hours from the time we walk on board, we had actually thus broken and also thrown overboard every tea chest come be uncovered in the ship; while those in the other ships were disposing of the tea in the same way, in ~ the exact same time. We were surrounding by British equipped ships, yet no attempt to be made to stand up to us.

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We then quiet retired come our several locations of residence, without having any type of conversation v each other, or taking any measures to uncover who were our associates; nor perform I recollect of our having had actually the understanding of the surname of a single individual involved in that affair, except that the Leonard Pitt, the commander of my division, who I have mentioned. There showed up to it is in an understanding that every individual have to volunteer his services, save his very own secret, and risk the aftermath for himself. No disorder took place throughout that transaction, and also it to be observed at that time, the the stillest night ensued that Boston had delighted in for many months.During the moment we to be throwing the tea overboard, over there were number of attempts do by some of the citizen of Boston and its vicinity, to lug off small quantities of it for their family members use. To effect that object, they would certainly watch their possibility to snatch up a handful from the deck, whereby it came to be plentifully scattered, and put it into their pockets. One Captain O’Conner, whom i well knew, come on board for the purpose, and when he supposed he was no noticed, fill his pockets, and additionally the lining of his coat. However I had actually detected him, and also gave information to the captain the what he was doing. Us were notified to take him right into custody, and also just as he was stepping native the vessel, ns seized the by the skirt of his coat, and in attempting to pull him back, ns tore the off; but springing forward, through a fast effort, that made his escape. The had but to operation a gauntlet v the group upon the wharf; every one, as he passed, giving him a absent or a stroke.The next day we nailed the skirt the his coat, i m sorry I had actually pulled off, to the whipping post in Charlestown, the place of his residence, through a brand upon it, commemorative that the chance which had actually thus subjected the proprietor to the popular indignation.Another attempt to be made to conserve a small tea indigenous the ruins of the cargo, through a high aged man, who wore a big cocked hat and white wig, which was stylish at that time. He had slightly slipped a tiny into his pocket, but being detected, they seized him, and taking his hat and also wig from his head, threw them, together with the tea, the which they had cleared his pockets, into the water.

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In consideration of his advanced age, that was permitted to escape, with now and then a slight kick.The following morning, after ~ we had cleared the ships of the tea, that was discovered that very considerable amounts of it to be floating upon the surface ar of the water; and to protect against the opportunity of any type of of that being saved for use, a number of small watercrafts were manned by sailors and also citizens, that rowed them right into those components of the harbour where the tea to be visible, and by beating it with oars and paddles, so completely drenched it, as to render that entire damage inevitable.

Source: James Hawkes, A Retrospect that the Boston Tea Party (New York, 1834), pp. 36–41.