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Close of Quincy's Speech. Breaking up of the Meeting. Destruction of Tea in the Harbor. Apathy of Government Officials.
our bosoms, to hope that we shall end this controversy without the sharpest, the sharpest conflicts—to flatter ourselves that popular resolves, popular harangues, popular acclamations, and popular vapor will vanquish our foes. Let us consider the issue. Let us look to the end. Let us weigh and consider before we advance to those measures which must bring on the most trying and terrible struggle this country ever saw.” When Mr. Quincy closed his harangue (about three o'clock in the afternoon), the question was put, “Will you abide by your former resolutions with respect to not suffering the tea to be landed ?” The vast assembly, as with one voice, gave an affirmative reply. Mr. Roch, in the mean while, had been sent to the governor, who was at his country house at Milton, a few miles from Boston, to request a permit for his vessel to leave the harbor. A demand was also made upon the collector for a clearance, but he refused until the tea should be landed. Roch returned late in the afternoon with information that the governor refused to grant a permit until a clearance should be exhibited. The meeting was greatly excited; and, as twilight was approaching, a call was made for candles. At that moment a person disguised like a Mohawk Indian raised the war-whoop in the gallery of the Old South, which was answered from without. Another voice in the gallery shouted, “Boston Harbor a tea-pot tonight ! Hurra for Griffin's Wharf.” A motion was instantly made to adjourn, and the people, in great confusion, crowded into the streets. Several persons in disguise were seen crossing Fort Hill in the direction of Griffin's Wharf, and thitherward the populace pressed. Concert of action marked the operations at the wharf; a general system of proceedings had doubtless been previously arranged. The number of persons disguised as Indians was fifteen or twenty, but about sixty went on board the vessels containing the tea. Before the work was over, it was estimated that one hundred and forty were engaged. A man named Lendall Pitts seems to have been recognized by the party as a sort of commander-in-chief, and under his directions the Dartmouth was first boarded, the hatches were taken up, and her cargo, consisting of one hundred and fourteen chests of tea, was brought on deck, where the boxes were broken open and their contents cast into the water. The other two vessels (the Eleanor, Captain James Bruce, and the Beaver, Captain Hezekiah Coffin) were next boarded, and all the tea they contained was thrown into the harbor. The whole quantity thus destroyed within the space of two hours was three hundred and forty-two chests. It was an early hour on a clear, moonlight evening when this transaction took place, and the British squadron was not more than a quarter of a mile distant. British troops, too, were near, yet the whole proceeding was uninterrupted. This apparent apathy on the part of government officers can be accounted for only by the fact alluded to by the papers of the time, that something far more serious was expected on the occasion of an attempt to land the tea, and that the owners of the vessels, as well as the public authorities, felt themselves
* Josiah Quincy was born in Boston, February 23d, 1744. As a student he was remarkably persevering, and with unblemished reputation he graduated at Harvard in 1763. He pursued legal studies under the celebrated Oxenbridge Thacher, of Boston. The circumstances of the times turned his thoughts to political topics, and he took sides with Otis, Adams, and others, against the aggressive policy of Britain. As early as 1768 he used this bold language: “Did the blood of the ancient Britons swell our veins, did the spirit of our forefathers inhabit our breasts, should we hesitate a moment in preferring death to a miserable existence in bondage?” In 1770 he declared, “I wish to see my countrymen break off-off forever 1 all social intercourse with those whose commerce contaminates, whose luxuries poison, whose avarice is insatiable, and whose unnatural oppressions are not to be borne.” Mr. Quincy was associated with John Adams in the defense of the perpetrators of the “Boston massacre” in 1770, and did not by that defense alienate the good opinion of the people. In February, 1771, he was obliged to go to the south on account of a pulmonary complaint. At Charleston he formed an acquaintance with Pinckney, Rutledge, and other patriots, and, returning by land, conferred with other leading Whigs in the several colonies. Continued ill health, and a desire to make himself acquainted with English statesmen, induced him to make a voyage to England in 1774, where he had personal interviews with most of the leading men. He asserts that, while there, Colonel Barré, who had traveled in America, assured him that such was the ignorance of the English people, two thirds of them thought the Americans were all negroes! Becoming fully acquainted with the feelings and intentions of the king and his ministers, and hopeless of reconciliation, Mr. Quincy determined to return and arouse his countrymen to action. He embarked for Boston, with declining health, in March, and died when the vessel was in sight of land, April 26th, 1775, aged thirty-one years.
East India Company the only Losers. Quiet in Boston. A Smuggler punished. Names of Members of the “Tea Party."
placed under lasting obligations to the rioters for extricating them from a serious dilemma.' They certainly would have been worsted in an attempt forcibly to land the tea. In the actual result the vessels and other property were spared from injury; the people of Boston, having carried their resolution into effect, were satisfied; the courage of the civil and military officers was unimpeached, and the “national honor” was not compromised. None but the East India Company, whose property was destroyed, had reason for complaint. As soon as the work of destruction was completed, the active party marched in perfect order into the town, preceded by drum and fife, dispersed to their homes, and Boston, untarnished by actual mob or riot,” was never more tranquil than on that bright and frosty December night." A large proportion of those who were engaged in the destruction of the tea were disguised, either by a sort of Indian costume or by blacking their faces. Many, however, were fearless of consequences, and boldly employed their hands without concealing their faces from the bright light of the moon. The names of fifty-nine of the participators in the act have been preserved,” but only one of the men, so far as is known, is still living. This is DAvid KINNIsoN, of Chicago, Illinois, whose portrait and sign manual are here given. The engraving is from a Daguerreotype from life, taken in August, 1848, when
* A “Bostonian,” in his “Traits of the Tea Party,” on the authority of G. R. T. Hewes, one of the survivors, says that Admiral Montague was at the house of a Tory named Coffin during the transaction, and that, when the party marched from the wharf, he raised the window and said, “Well, boys, you've 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, the leader; “never mind, squire just come out here, if you please, and we’ll settle the bill in two minutes.” The populace raised a shout, the fifer struck up a lively air, and the admiral shut the window in a hurry.
* Some, whose acquisitiveness overmatched their patriotism, were pretty severely handled during the destruction of the cargoes. One Charles O'Connor was detected filling his pockets and “the lining of his doublet” with tea while assisting to throw the broken chests overboard. He was completely stripped of his clothes and kicked ashore. A man was found at South Boston a few days afterward, with part of a chest of tea, which he had carried away from the harbor. He had sold some. They made him give up the money, and then, taking the remainder of the chest, they made a bonfire of it on the common, in front of Mr. Hancock's house. Some of the tea is preserved at Harvard College.
* The following is a list of those known to have been engaged in destroying the tea:
George R.T. Hewes,” Joseph Shed, John Crane, Josiah Wheeler, Thomas Uranu, Adam Colson, Thomas Chase, S. Cooledge, Joseph Payson, James Brewer, Thomas Bolter, Edward Proctor, Samuel Sloper, Thomas Gerrish, Nathaniel Green, Thomas Mellville, Henry Purkett,” Edward C. How, Ebenezer Stevens, Nicholas Campbell, John Russell, Thomas Porter, William Hurdley, Benjamin Rice, Samuel Gore, Nathaniel Frothingham, Moses Grant, Peter Slater.” James Starr, Abraham Tower, Isaac Simpson,” Joseph Eayres, Joseph Lee, William Molineux, Paul Revere, John Spurr, Thomas Moore, S. Howard, Mathew Loring, Thomas Spear, Daniel Ingollson, Jonathan Hunnewell,” John Hooten,* Richard Hunnewell, William Pierce,” William Russell, T. Gammell, Mr. M'Intosh,” Dr. Young, Mr. Wyeth, Edward Dolbier, Mr. Martin, Samuel Peck, Lendall Pitts, Samuel Sprague,” Benjamin Clarke, John Prince,” Richard Hunnewell, Jr., David Kin
nison.* Many of these were merely lads at the time.
* These were living in 1836. All are now in the grave except Mr. Kinnison.
Age of Mr. Kinnison. Events of his Life. Escape from Wounds during the Wars. Subsequent personal Injuries
the veteran was one hundred and eleven years and nine months old. He was alive a few weeks since (January, 1850), in his one hundred and fourteenth year. Through the kindness of a friend at Chicago, I procured the Daguerreotype, and the following sketch of his life from his own lips. The signature was written by the patriot upon the manuscript. David KINNIson was born the 17th of November, 1736, in Old Kingston, near Ports. mouth, province of Maine. Soon afterward his parents removed to Brentwood, and thence in a few years to Lebanon (Maine), at which place he followed the business of farming until the commencement of the Revolutionary war. He is descended from a long-lived race. His great-grandfather, who came from England at an early day, and settled in Maine, lived to a very advanced age; his grandfather attained the age of one hundred and twelve years and ten days; his father died at the age of one hundred and three years and nine months; his mother died while he was young. He has had four wives, neither of whom is now living; he had four children by his first wife and eighteen by his second ; none by the last two. He was taught to read after he was sixty years of age, by his granddaughter, and learned to sign his name while a soldier of the Revolution, which is all the writing he has ever accomplished. He was one of seventeen inhabitants of Lebanon who, some time previous to the “Tea Party,” formed a club which held secret meetings to deliberate upon the grievances offered by the mother country. These meetings were held at the tavern of one “Colonel Gooding,” in a private room hired for the occasion. The landlord, though a true American, was not enlightened as to the object of their meeting. Similar clubs were formed in Philadelphia, Boston, and the towns around. With these the Lebanon Club kept up a correspondence. They (the Lebanon Club) determined, whether assisted or not, to destroy the tea at all hazards. They repaired to Boston, where they were joined by others; and twenty-four, disguised as Indians, hastened on board, twelve armed with muskets and bayonets, the rest with tomahawks and clubs, having first agreed, whatever might be the result, to stand by each other to the last, and that the first man who faltered should be knocked on the head and thrown over with the tea. They expected to have a fight, and did not doubt that an effort would be made for their arrest. “But” (in the language of the old man) “we cared no more for our lives than three straws, and determined to throw the tea overboard. We were all captains, and every one commanded himself.” They pledged themselves in no event, while it should be dangerous to do so, to reveal the names of the party—a pledge which was faithfully observed until the war of the Revolution was brought to a successful issue. Mr. Kinnison was in active service during the whole war, only returning home once from the time of the destruction of the tea until peace had been declared. He participated in the affair at Lexington, and, with his father and two brothers, was at the battle of Bunker Hill, all four escaping unhurt. He was within a few feet of Warren when that officer fell. He was also engaged in the siege of Boston; the battles of Long Island, White Plains, and Fort Montgomery; skirmishes on Staten Island, the battles of Stillwater, Red Bank, and Germantown; and, lastly, in a skirmish at Saratoga Springs, in which his company (scouts) were surrounded and captured by about three hundred Mohawk Indians. He remained a prisoner with them one year and seven months, about the end of which time peace was declared. After the war he settled at Danville, Vermont, and engaged in his old occupation of farming. He resided there eight years, and then removed to Wells, in the state of Maine, where he remained until the commencement of the last war with Great Britain. He was in service during the whole of that war, and was in the battles of Sackett's Harbor and Williamsburg. In the latter conflict he was badly wounded in the hand by a grape-shot, the only injury which he received in all his engagements. Since the war he has lived at Lyme and at Sackett's Harbor, New York. At Lyme, while engaged in felling a tree, he was struck down by a limb, which fractured his skull and broke his collar-bone and two of his ribs. While attending a “training” at Sackett's Harbor, one of the cannon, having been loaded (as he says) “with rotten wood,” was discharged. The contents struck the end of a rail close by him with such force as to carry it
No Knowledge of his Children. His Person and Circumstances. Speech at a “Free Soil" Meeting. G. R. T. Hewes.
around, breaking and badly shattering both his legs midway between his ankles and knees. He was confined a long time by this wound, and, when able again to walk, both legs had contracted permanent “fever sores.” His right hip has been drawn out of joint by rheumatism. A large scar upon his forehead bears conclusive testimony of its having come in contact with the heels of a horse. In his own language, he “has been completely bunged up and stove in.” When last he heard of his children there were but seven of the twenty-two living. These were scattered abroad, from Canada to the Rocky Mountains. He has entirely lost all traces of them, and knows not that any are still living. Nearly five years ago he went to Chicago with the family of William Mack, with whom he is now living. He is reduced to extreme poverty, and depends solely upon his pension of ninety-six dollars per annum for subsistence, most of which he pays for his board. Occasionally he is assisted by private donations. Up to 1848 he has always made something by labor. “The last season,” says my informant, “he told me he gathered one hundred bushels of corn, dug potatoes, made hay, and harvested oats. But now he finds himself too infirm to labor, though he thinks he could walk twenty miles in a day by “starting early.’” He has evidently been a very muscular man. Although not large, his frame is one of great power. He boasts of “the strength of former years.” Nine years ago, he says, he lifted a barrel of rum into a wagon with ease. His height is about five feet ten inches, with an expansive chest and broad shoulders. He walks somewhat bent, but with as much vigor as many almost half a century younger. His eye is usually somewhat dim, but, when excited by the recollection of his past eventful life, it twinkles and rolls in its socket with remarkable activity. His memory of recent events is not retentive, while the stirring scenes through which he passed in his youth appear to be mapped out upon his mind in unfading colors. He is fond of martial music. The drum and fife of the recruiting service, he says, “daily put new life into him.” “In fact,” he says, “it’s the sweetest music in the world. There's some sense in the drum, and fife, and bugle, but these pianos and other such trash I can’t stand at all.” Many years ago he was troubled with partial deafness; his sight also failed him somewhat, and he was compelled to use glasses. Of late years both hearing and sight have returned to him as perfectly as he ever possessed them. He is playful and cheerful in his disposition. “I have seen him,” says my informant, “for hours upon the side-walk with the little children, entering with uncommon zest into their childish pastimes. He relishes a joke, and often indulges in ‘cracking one himself.’” At a public meeting, in the summer of 1848, of those opposed to the extension of slavery, Mr. Kinnison took the stand and addressed the audience with marked effect. He declared that he fought for the “freedom of all,” that freedom ought to be given to the “black boys,” and closed by exhorting his audience to do all in their power to abolish SLAVERY. The portrait of another member of the 2% 2& ź “Boston Tea Party,” GeoRGE Robert 27° —eo-* Twelve Hewes, is preserved. I have - copied it, by permission, from the “Traits of the Tea Party, and Memoir of Hewes.” He was born in Boston, on the 5th of September, 1742. His early opportunities for acquiring education were very small. To Mrs. Tin
Character and Patriotism of Hewes. His Death. Excitement in Parliament in Consequence of the Boston Tea Riot.
kum, wife of the town-crier, he was indebted for his knowledge of reading and writing. Farming, fishing, and shoe-making seem to have been the chief employment of his earlier years. In 1758 he attempted to enlist in the army to serve against the French, but did not “pass muster;” he was equally unsuccessful in attempts to join the navy, and then resumed shoemaking. In the various disturbances in Boston from the time of the passage of the Stamp Act, Hewes, who was both excitable and patriotic, was generally concerned. He was among the foremost in the destruction of the tea at Boston. When the Americans invested the city, and many patriots were shut up under the vigilant eyes of the British officers, Hewes was among them. He managed to escape, and entered the naval service of the colonies as a privateer, in which he was somewhat successful. Afterward he joined the army, and was stationed for a time at West Point, under General M. Dougal. He was never in any land battle, except with the Cow Boys and Skinners, as they were called, of the neutral ground of West Chester. After the Revolution he returned to Boston, and again engaged in business upon the sea. He, like Kinnison, was one of the thousands of that time utterly unknown to the world, except within the small love-circle of family relationship and neighborly regard; and even this present slight embalming of their memory would not have occurred, had not the contingency of great longevity distinguished them from other men. Although personally unknown, their deeds are felt in the political blessings we enjoy. When the Bunker Hill Monument was completed and was dedicated, on the 17th of June, 1843, Mr. Hewes, then one hundred and one years old, was there, and honored by all. Returning to the residence of his son, at Richfield, in Otsego county, New York, some sixty miles west of the Hudson, he soon went down into the grave, when more than a century old, “a shock of corn fully ripe.” The events of the 16th of December produced a deep sensation throughout the British realm. They struck a sympathetic chord in every colony, and even Canada, Halifax, and the West Indies had no serious voice of censure for the Bostonians. But the ministerial party here and the public in England were amazed at the audacity of the American people; and the friends of the colonists in Parliament were, for a moment, silent, for they had no excuse to make in behalf of their transatlantic friends for destroying private property. But with the intelligence of the event went an intimation that the town of Boston was ready to pay the East India Company for the tea, and so the question rested at once upon its original basis—the right of Great Britain to tax the colonies. Ministers were bitterly indignant, and the House of Lords was like a “seething caldron of impotent rage.” The alleged honesty of the Americans was entirely overlooked, and ministers and their friends saw nothing but open rebellion in the Massachusetts colony. Strange as it may appear, the king did not send a message to Parliament on the subject until the 7th of March, several weeks after the disturbances at Boston were known to government. Then he detailed the proceedings, and his message was accompanied by a variety of papers, consisting of letters from Hutchinson, Admiral Montague, and the consignees of the tea; the dispatches of several colonial governors (for menaces of similar violent measures had been uttered in other colonies); and some of the most exciting manifestoes, hand-bills, and pamphlets put forth by the Americans. The king, in his message, called upon Parliament to devise means immediately to suppress these tumultuous proceedings in the colonies. On the receipt of the message and the accompanying papers in the House of Commons, an address of thanks to the king, and of assurances that he should be sustained in his efforts to preserve order in America, was proposed. This proposition, with the message and papers, produced great excitement, and the House became, according to Burke, “as hot as Faneuil Hall or the Old South Meeting-house at Boston.” The debate that ensued was excessively stormy. Ministers and their supporters charged open rebellion upon the colonies, while the opposition denounced, in the strongest language which common courtesy could tolerate, the foolish, unjust, and wicked course of the government. They reviewed the past; but ministers, tacitly acknowledging past errors, objected to retrospection, and earnestly pleaded for strict attention to the momentous present. They asked whether the colonies were or were not longer to be considered dependent upon Great Britain, and, if so, how far and in what