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The Truth about the Boston Tea Party

quoted from Thom Hartmann's book <B>What Would Jefferson Do?</B>
The truth about the Tea Party

In elementary school we learned the story that the Revolutionary War was a struggle between the colonists and the king, but a larger story often goes untold until one reaches college history classes. That story is about the instrument of power the king wielded (or which wielded the king's power): a transnational corporation named the East India Company.
It turns out the Boston Tea Party wasn't about tax increases at all. It came about because a crony of the Crown, the East India Company, got a tax cut on its tea in the Tea Act of 1773, and this put all other small merchants at a disadvantage.
The East India Company got its way because it was so huge and powerful.

The early history of the times
We learned that the Pilgrims arrived in America in 1620 on a boat named the Mayflower, but few of us know that they'd chartered the boat from the East India Company, the world's largest and most powerful multinational corporation. The Mayflower, in fact, had already make the crossing between England to North America three times when the Pilgrims chartered it.
The East India Company was most responsible for the rise of England from a weak still-feudal state in the late 1500s to an international powerhouse by the mid-1600s. The Company was Queen Elizabeth I's second attempt to use a corporation to catch up with the other European seafaring powers.
Queen Elizabeth I was the largest shareholder and funder of the Golden Hind, Sir Francis Drake's ship that accidentally (he had planned to travel up the Nile) circumnavigated the globe between 1577 and 1580. Drake returned home with a mind boggling array of treasures looted from various lands, including 26 tons of silver, so all of the investors, including the queen, saw a minimum 5,000 percent return on their investment.
Drakes success helped make Elizabeth willing to fund a new transnational trading company that- on behalf of the British Crown- would compete with the very successful Dutch trading companies. Thus, on December 31, 1600, she authorized a group of 218 noblemen and merchants from London (plus herself) to charter the East India Company.
A significant example of corporate cronyism is that in 1681, King Charles II and Parliament (nearly all of whom were stock-holders) pass "An Act for the Restraining and Punishing Privateers & Pirates." This law required a license to import anything into the Americas (and other British-controlled parts of the world). The incenses were so expensive that they were rarely granted to anybody except the East India Company and other large British corporations. Anybody operating without a license was labeled a privateer and was subject to the death penalty "without the benefit of clergy."
For the next 90 years, the trade provisions of the law were only spottily enforced, mostly because the offenders were usually small, entrepreneurial ships from America and the British navy didn't consider them worth chasing. The Company, facing British reluctance to enforce the law, created its own security force. The Company hired the infamous Captain Kidd to chase America private merchants, until the Company discovered that the good captain was secretly important his seized tea, spices, and other goods into North America. They had him hanged in 1701, and for the next half-century drew more heavily on British irregulars to protect their interests.

The East India Company: History's first Wal-Mart
By the mid-1700s, the East India Company had become, to North America, the Wal-Mart of its day. It imported into North America vast quantities of products, including textiles, tools, steel, and tea, and exported to Europe tons of fur and tobacco, as well as many thousands of Native American slaves. Protesters and competitors were put down ruthlessly, and the Company worked so closely with the British military that they hired General Cornwallis after he lost the Battle of Yorktown in 1781 and put him in charge of much of its lucrative business in India (which they were beginning to rule as a corporate colonial power).
The late 1760s and early 1770s brought a crisis for the East India Company. Most of the easily found gold and other wealth around the world was now safely in Europe. The period between 1760 and 1773 brought a severe recession for both the America colonies and Britain, and demand for the Company's products went flat. Credit was tight, cash was tight, and as the colonies increasingly developed their own industries to manufacture things of steel, silver, and fabric, demand for imports from Europe slowed to a trickle, mostly of tea and spices.
The tea business with North America was still profitable, propping up many other sectors of the Company. As tea became more important, though, the Company also found itself facing increasing numbers of competitors.
Small entrepreneurs up and down the East Coast were building, buying, or chartering small private ships to sail to other parts of Europe or India to buy tea below the prices the Company was selling it for in North America. Nearly ever block in most America cities had a teahouse, which dispensed the colonists' favorite drug of choice and also served as a local social center. Most of these teahouses were small businesses, and by the late 17670s the majority were buying their tea from local entrepreneurial "private" importers.
Fighting the privateers-even with the penalty of death as a weapon- had proved a waste of time. Rarely did the booty seized from a small entrepreneur's ship equal to the cost to track, board, and seize the ship.

A legislative maneuver to quickly sell 17 million pounds of tea.
Desperate for cash, the Company reached out to its stockholders- which included King George III and most of the members of the House of Lords- and asked them for an Enron-style tax cut that would allow them to undercut the prices of the small business people of the colonies.
Parliament complied with the Tea Act of 1773, which not only cut the taxes on the East India Company's tea but also gave the Company a multimillion-pound rebate on taxes already paid on tea in inventory that would one day be shipped to North America.
American colonists, facing the destruction of their local small businesses by the East India Company, rebelled. The tax cut was so unfair that it revived the battle cry, "No taxation without representation."
As the Encylopaedia Britannica notes in its 2001 online edition, the 1773 Tea Act was a "legislative maneuver by the British ministry of Lord North to make English tea marketable in America" by helping the East India Company quickly "sell 17 million pounds of tea stored in England."

A new firsthand account of the Tea Party is discovered.
There are few books in print about the Boston Tea Party. Most are children's books, and the event is mentioned only briefly in many histories of the time. One of the reasons is that the men who participated swore a 50-year oath of silence, and few of them were alive 50 years later.
One, however, survived and went on to write a memoir that was published by a small New York press, S. S. Bliss, in 1834. To the best of my knowledge, it's the only existing account of the Boston Tea Party by an eyewitness, and it's been out of print for over 160 years. Discovering this, I set out on a search to find a copy and located one at a rare bookstore: I was thrilled to read this extraordinary first-person account.
The book is by George Robert Twelvetree Hewes and is title Retrospect of the Boston Tea Party with a Memoir of George R.T.Hews, a Survivor of the little Band of Patriots Who Drowned the Tea in Boston Harbor in 1773. It was old, tattered, printed on a handpress with pages of slightly different sizes and hand-set type.
George Hewes was no stranger to scraps and fights on behalf of the colonists against the British in the 1770s. Originally a fisherman, he'd apprenticed as a shoemaker around the time of the Tea Party and appears repeatedly in Esther Forbes's class 1942 biography of Paul Revere. Forbes notes that when young Paul Revere went off to join the Continental army in 1756, Hewes tried to join him in Rachard Gridley's regiment. But, she notes, "All must be able-bodied and between seventeen and forty-five, and must measure to a certain height. George Robert Twelvetree Hewes could not go. He was too short, and in vain did he get a shoemaker to build up the inside of his shoes."
In anecdotes that recall how small the American communities were in that day (New York City had only 30,000 inhabitants at the time of the Revolutionary War), Forbes chronicles Hewes borrowing money from John Hancock and having dinner with George Washington. "Hewes says that, 'Madam Washington waited upon them at table at dinner-time and was remarkably social,'"
Reading the hand-typeset brittle pages of Hewes's memoir brought the Boston Tea Party (a phrase which he apparently coined- prior to his book, it was referred to as "that incident in Boston harbor") and the struggle of the colonists against corporate rule fully to life. Hewes notes that weak enforcement of the Act for Restraining Privateers "rendered the smuggle of [tea] an object and frequently practices, and their resolutions against using it, although observed by many with little fidelity, had greatly diminished the importation into the colonies [by the East India Company] of this commodity. Meanwhile an immense quantity of it was accumulated in the warehouses of the East India Company in England. This company petitioned the king to suppress the duty of three pence per pound upon it introduction into America."

Like Wal-Mart, the East India "super-ships" destroyed smaller competition.
Thus came about the Tea Act- a giant corporate tax cut- as Hewes notes: "The [East India] Company, however, received permission to transport tea, free of all duty, from Great Britain to America," allowing it to wipe out its small competitors and take over the tea business in all of America. "Hence," Hewes said, "it was no longer the small vessels of private merchants, who went to vent tea for their own account in the ports of the colonies, but on the contrary, ships of an enormous burthen, that transported immense quantities of this commodity.... The colonies were now arrived at the decisive moment when they must cast the dye, and determine their course."
But it wasn't just the America tea merchants who were upset. England was filled with small business people who wanted to import and sell their own tea, and they offered encouragement to the colonist in letters published in newspapers. "Even in England individuals were not wanting, who fanned this fire; some from a desire to baffle the government, others from motives of private interest, says the historian of the event, and jealousy at the opportunity offered the East India Company, to make immense profits to their prejudice."
Hewes continues: "These opposers of the measure in England [the Tea Act of 1773] wrote there fore to America, encouraging a strenuous resistance. They represented to the colonists that this would prove their last trial, and that if they should triumph now, their liberty was secured forever; but if they should yield, they must bow their necks to the yoke of slavery. The materials were so prepared and disposed that they could easily kindle."
The first confrontation between the colonists and the corporations appeared as if it would happen in Pennsylvania and New York.
"At Philadelphia," Hewes writes, "those to whom the teas of the [East India] Company were intended to be consigned, were induced by persuasion, or constrained by menaces, to promise, on no terms, to accept the proffered consignment.
"At New-York, Captain Sears and McDougal, daring and enterprising men, effected a concert of will [against the East India Company], between the smugglers, the merchants, and the sons of liberty [who had all joined forces and in most cases were the same people]. Pamphlets suited to the conjecture, were daily distributed, and nothing was left unattempted by popular leaders, to obtain their purpose"
The broad consensus was that boycotts and acts of civil disobedience would be enough to make the British rescind the tax breaks and rebates that were now allowing the East India Company to sell its tea below market value. But as newspapers began to expose the ways the East India Company has used monopoly control in other nations where it had put all the local small companies out of business, anger rose. Consider this pamphlet, which appeared on trees and buildings all over Philadelphia and Boston in the fall of 1773. It was titled The Alarm and signed by an enigmatic patriot who called himself only "Rusticus."

Are we in like Manner to be given up to the Disposal of the East India Company, who have now the Assurance, to step forth in Aid of the minister, to execute his Plan, of enslaving America? Their Conduct in Asia, for some Years past, has given simple Proof, how little they regard the Laws of Nations, the Rights, Liberties, or Lives of Men. They have levied War, excited Rebellions, dethroned lawful Princes, and sacrificed Millions for the Sake of Gain. The Revenues of Mighty Kingdoms have centered in their Coffers. And these not being sufficient to glut their Avarice, they have, by the most unparalleled Barbarities, Extortions, and Monopolies, stripped the miserable Inhabitants of their Property, and reduced whole Provinces to Indigence and Ruin. Fifteen hundred Thousands, it is said, perished by Famine in one Year, not because the Earth denied its Fruits; but [because] this Company and their Servants engulfed all the Necessaries of Life, and set them at so high a Rate that the poor could not purchase them.

The pamphlets and newspaper stories galvanized the populace, who succeeded in turning back the Company's ships when they tried to land in New York and Philadelphia harbors. "In Boston," Hewes wrote, "the general voice declared the time was come to face the storm.... Now is the time to prove our courage, or be disgraced with our brethren of the other colonies, who have their eyes fixed upon us, and will be prompt in their succor if we show ourselves faithful and firm."
Hewes adds, "This was the voice of the Bostonians in 1773. The factors who were to be the consignees of the tea, were urged to renounce their agency, but they refused and took refuge in the fortress. A guard was placed on Griffin's wharf, near where the tea ships were moored. It was agree that a strict watch should be kept: that if any insult should be offered, the bell should be immediately rung; and some persons always ready to bear intelligence of what might happen, to the neighbouring towns, and to call in the assistance of the country people."
"Rusticus" added his voice in the May 27, 1773, pamphlet saying: "Resolve therefore, nobly resolve, and publish to the World your Resolutions, that no Man will receive the Tea, no Man will let his Stores, or suffer the Vessel that brings it to moor at his Wharf, and that if any Person assists at unloading, landing, or storing it, he shall ever after be deemed an Enemy to his Country, and never be employed by his Fellow Citizens."
A new edition of The Alarm, published on October 27, 1773, said, "It hath now been proved to you, That the East India Company, obtained the monopoly of that trade by bribery, and corruption. That the power thus obtained they have prostituted to extortion, and other the most cruel and horrible purposes, the Sun ever beheld."
But despite the protests, on a cold winter day the Company sailed its ships into the port of Boston.
"On the 28th of November, 1773." Hewes writes, "the ship Dartmouth with 112 chests arrived; and the next moring after, the following notice was widely circulated:

Friends, Brethren, Countrymen! That worst of plagues, the detested TEA, has arrived in this harbour. The hour of destruction, a manly opposition to the machinations of tyranny, stares you in the face. Every friend to his country, to himself, and to posterity, is now called upon to meet in Faneuil hall, at nine o-clock, this day, at which time the bells will ring, to make a united and successful resistance to this last, worse, and most destructive measure of administration.
The pamphlet galvanized the citizens of Boston. Hewes write, "Things thus appeared to be hastening to a disastrous issues. The people of the county arrived in great numbers, the inhabitants of the town assembled. This assembly which was on the 16th of December, 1773, was the most numerous ever known, there being more then 2000 from the country present."
Hewes continues: "This notification brought together a vast concourse of the people of Boston and the neighbouring towns, at the time and place appointed. Then it was resolved that the tea should be returned to the place from whence it came in all events, and no duty paid thereon. The arrival of other cargoes of tea soon after, increased the agitation of the public mind, already wrought up to a degree of desperation, and ready to break out into acts of violence, on every trivial occasion of offense....
"Finding no measures were likely to be taken, either by the governor, or the commanders, or owners of the ships, to return their cargoes or prevent the landing of them, at 5 o'clock a vote was called for the dissolution of the meeting and obtained. But some of the more moderate and judicious members, fearing what might be the consequences, asked for a reconsideration of the vote, offing no other reason, than that they ought to do every thing in their power to send the tea back, according to their previous resolves. This, says the historian of that event, touched the pride of the assembly, and they agreed to remain together one hour."
During that hour, there was a strong and vigorous debate about whether or not they should take on the world's mightiest corporation, back up by the greatest military force the planet had ever seen.
And then came a call for a vote: "The question was then immediately put whether the landing of the tea should be opposed, and carried in the affirmative unanimously. Rotch [a local tea seller], to whom the cargo of tea had been consigned, was then requested to demand of the governor to permit to pass the castle [return the ships to England]. The latter answered haughtily, that for the honor of the laws, and from duty towards the king, he could not grant the permit, until the vessel was regularly cleared.
"A violent commotion immediately ensued; and... a person disguised after the manner of the Indians, who was in the gallery, shouted at this juncture, the cry of war; and that the meeting disolved in the twinkling of an eye, and the multitude rushed in a mass to Griffin's wharf."

What really happened at the Tea Party itself?
Much like some modern antiglobalization protesters, the group had voted to pass the point of no return and make a clear and unflinching statement, in this case a million-dollar act of vandalism. Hewes wrote:

"It was now evening, and I immediately dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equipped with a small hatchet, which I and my associates denominated the tomahawk, with which, and a club, after having painted my face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith, I repaired to Griffin's wharf, where the ships lay that contained the tea. When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in with me and march in order to the place of our destination.
"When we arrived at the wharf, there were three of our number who assumed an authority to direct our operations, to which we readily submitted. They divided us into three paries, for the purpose of boarding the three ships which contained the tea at the same time. The name of him who commanded the division to which I was assigned was Leonard Pit. The names of the other commanders I never knew.
"We were immediately ordered by the respective commanders to board all the ships at the same time, which we promptly obeyed. The commander of the division to which I belonged, as soon as we were on board the ship appointed me boatswain, and order me to go to the captain and demand of him the keys to the hatches and a dozen candles. I made the demand accordingly, and the captain promptly replied, and delivered the articles; but requested me at the same time to do no damage to the ship or rigging.
"We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard, and we immediately proceeded to execute his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water.
"In about three houses from the time we went on board, we had thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to be found in the ship, while those in the other ships were disposing of the tea in the same way, at the same time. We were surrounded by British armed ships, but no attempt was made to resist us.
"We then quietly retired to our several places of residence, without having any conversation with each other, or taking any measure to discover who were our associates; nor do I recollect of our having had the knowledge of the name of a single individual concerned in that affair, except that of Leonard Pitt, the commander of my division, whom I have mentioned. There appeared to be an understanding that each individual should volunteer his services, keep his own secret, and risk the consequence for himself. No disorder took place during that transaction, and it was observed at that time that the stillest night ensured that Boston had enjoyed for many months.

Hews and his associates destroyed and threw overboard 342 chests of tea - enough to make 24 million cups of tea- worth over a million dollars in today's money. Instead of realizing that that was an uprising that could be handled by allowing the colonists to have their own small businesses, Parliament passed the Boston Port Act, which closed the port until Boston's citizens had repaid the Company for the tea. The colonists refused, leading to increasing tensions and leading, some say, directly to Paul Revere's April 18, 1775, ride that called out 77 Minutemen to face 700 British regulars (Redcoats) the next day on the Lexington Green.
The war was on, and a predatory multinational corporation had triggered it.

Outlawing Patriotism 09.Jan.2006 19:47


Looks like there was a rich froth of grass-roots ("domestic") terrorism* from the early days in the euro-american colonial enterprise leading to overthrowing the exploitations and oppressions of the ruling, corporate class. Are the participants in that domestic terrorism--threats and coercion, million dollar acts of vandalism"--not today called patriots?

What do you say?

*Part 48, pages 23 and 24 of the Affidavit of Agent of the State John L. Ferreira

Title 18, United States Code section 2331(5) states that "domestic terrorism" means:

Activities that -

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are

a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to, be intended -

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnaping; and

(C) occur primarily with in the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
(end quote)

HERE HERE! 10.Jan.2006 03:07


Here HERE! Rabble rabble yip

the general voice declared the time was come to face the storm.... Now is the time to prove our courage, or be disgraced with our brethren of the other colonies, who have their eyes fixed upon us, and will be prompt in their succor if we show ourselves faithful and firm

The Wal-Mart analogy is a little off 10.Jan.2006 07:25

Converse Murdoch

Wal-Mart doesn't use the awesome power of the state to outlaw ALL of their competition and then jam their prices through the roof. That's what made this East India Company so insidious. They made sure that whatever you needed you had to buy it from them. At the time it was illegal to manufacture cloth or guns in the colonies. It was a capital offense to export textile machinery to the colonies.

I don't think you can get arrested for wearing clothes that didn't come from Wal-Mart.

A couple of mistakes 10.Jan.2006 07:44


First, Hartmann's statement that the East India Company hired William Kidd to fight pirates is false. Kidd's backers were a cabal of wealthy politicians, mostly Whigs, who were not part of the Company, nor was his voyage undertaken even at their instance; instead it was a project conceived mostly by Kidd himself, who, having found putting his buccaneering abilities to the service of a political faction profitable in New York, was looking for an even better scheme in England.

The Company had never heard of Kidd before he reached the Indian Ocean and turned to piracy; they agitated for his capture and trial not only because piracy in the Indian Ocean was damaging to commerce but because it was provoking severe retaliation against European traders (particularly the English) on the part of Indian rulers.

Kidd just happened to go a-pirating at a time when European governments were coming to the view that the increasing importance of maritime trade meant that organized efforts to establish the rule of law at sea were necessary and justified. He also made the serious mistake of trusting the moneybags set.

To lay that whole sordid story at the feet of John Company is a gross oversimplification.

For anyone interested in this topic, I recommend Robert C. Ritchie's "Captain Kidd and the War Against the Pirates".

Second, what Hartmann neglects to mention about the Boston Tea Party is that the reason that a cabal of New England merchants were so peeved at the sale of cheap tea was that it undercut a nice little smuggling thing they had going. Far from being in the interests of the people of the colonies, the Tea Party was basically a bunch of rich thieves turning to the tactics of a Mafia to destroy competition and keep prices high enough to support their tax evasion scheme.

Yes, kids, some of our Founding Fathers were basically well-off thugs acting in nobody's interests but their own.

Dredging history in search of superficial resemblances to the present and tearing them from their context to use as facile comparisons in support of a political agenda isn't worth the effort, especially when you work an obvious falsehood into the first paragraph or so.

Cascadian patriots 10.Jan.2006 07:46


Surely the environmental activists of today will be the patriotic founding mothers and fathers of the future Cascadia. Our history books will praise their bravery and resolve, and their sacrifices.

The Alarm- SERIOUSLY RELEVENT 10.Jan.2006 10:59


Are we in like Manner to be given up to the Disposal of the East India Company, who have now the Assurance, to step forth in Aid of the minister, to execute his Plan, of enslaving America? Their Conduct in Asia, for some Years past, has given simple Proof, how little they regard the Laws of Nations, the Rights, Liberties, or Lives of Men. They have levied War, excited Rebellions, dethroned lawful Princes, and sacrificed Millions for the Sake of Gain. The Revenues of Mighty Kingdoms have centered in their Coffers. And these not being sufficient to glut their Avarice, they have, by the most unparalleled Barbarities, Extortions, and Monopolies, stripped the miserable Inhabitants of their Property, and reduced whole Provinces to Indigence and Ruin. Fifteen hundred Thousands, it is said, perished by Famine in one Year, not because the Earth denied its Fruits; but [because] this Company and their Servants engulfed all the Necessaries of Life, and set them at so high a Rate that the poor could not purchase them.

Resolve therefore, nobly resolve, and publish to the World your Resolutions, that no Man will receive the Tea, no Man will let his Stores, or suffer the Vessel that brings it to moor at his Wharf, and that if any Person assists at unloading, landing, or storing it, he shall ever after be deemed an Enemy to his Country, and never be employed by his Fellow Citizens.

It hath now been proved to you, That the East India Company, obtained the monopoly of that trade by bribery, and corruption. That the power thus obtained they have prostituted to extortion, and other the most cruel and horrible purposes, the Sun ever beheld.

Friends, Brethren, Countrymen! That worst of plagues, the detested TEA, has arrived in this harbour. The hour of destruction, a manly opposition to the machinations of tyranny, stares you in the face. Every friend to his country, to himself, and to posterity, is now called upon to meet in Faneuil hall, at nine o-clock, this day, at which time the bells will ring, to make a united and successful resistance to this last, worse, and most destructive measure of administration.


Afraid of Masons


An artist drew a picture of the Green Dragon Tavern. Below it he wrote these words: Where we met to Plan the Consignment of a few Shiploads of Tea, Dec 16, 1773. In the upper left hand corner of his drawing he put a square and compass. To this day no one knows who planned the Boston Tea Party.
The building had been purchased by the St. Andrews Lodge in 1764. There was a square and compass over the front door and a copper Dragon that had turned green through the weather. It was a community center. Downstairs was the Tavern. Upstairs was the St. Andrews Lodge and the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (Ancients). It was the largest place for meetings in the north east end of Boston. Historians have called it headquarters of the American Revolution.
Here the Boston Committee of Correspondence was formed after a few initial meetings at Brother Joseph Warren's house a few doors away. Here the Sons of Liberty held secret sessions. They wore a jewel around their necks and were known to have a separate language for recognition. The jewel had a picture of the Liberty Tree on it.
The North End Caucus formed the guard here that publicly guarded the tea ships so no tea could be unloaded. Brother Edward Proctor (St. Andrews Lodge) was known to be leader of this guard. Brother Paul Revere served with this guard. Later Brother Paul Revere served in another guard called the Selectmen who walked the streets of Boston, two by two, and observed the movements of British troops before he went off on his famous ride to Lexington. The Selectmen guard met at the Green Dragon Tavern and took an oath of secrecy over a Bible.
Dr. Joseph Warren, a 33 year old physician is the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts that meets upstairs. Paul Revere is the Senior Grand Deacon. Both are Past Masters of the St. Andrews Lodge. They are close friends and had come to the St. Andrews Lodge in the same year. It is Joseph Warren who sends Paul Revere to Lexington with a coded message for Brother John Hancock (also of St. Andrews Lodge).
Warren and Revere met at the Green Dragon Tavern with the North End Caucus that sang the Rally Mohawks song. The song tells us that Warren and Revere are there, but no one ever tells us who the Chiefs are. And we'll never know who the Mohawks are.

Rally, Mohawks - bring out your axes!
And tell King George we'll pay no taxes on his foreign tea!
His threats are vain - and vain to think
To force our girls and wives to drink His vile Bohea!
Then rally boys, and hasten on
To meet our Chiefs at the Green Dragon.
Our Warren's there, and bold Revere,
With hands to do and words to cheer For Liberty and Laws!
Our country's Braves and firm defenders
Shall ne'er be left by true North-Enders, Fighting Freedom's cause!
Then rally boys and hasten on to meet our Chiefs at the Green Dragon.

The vile Bohea is another name for the tea of the East India Company. It has been rotting in their warehouses in England. This is cheap tea and the Company needs to get rid of it. The British Parliament has given the East India Tea Company a monopoly on tea. The Colonies are not supposed to buy any other tea. Parliament has kept a tax on tea just to prove that they have the power to tax. And taxation without representation, along with a tea monopoly, is tyranny!
On the night of the Boston Tea Party there were men who called themselves Mohawks and put lamp black and paint on their faces as a disguise. Some of these Mohawks met at the Green Dragon Tavern. Some met in homes. Some wrapped themselves in blankets and sat in the balcony of the Old South Meeting House mixing with the crowd. Some came from the Edes Printing Office. Two thousand people stand on Griffin's wharf and watch the Boston Tea Party. The crowd is silent as sixty men dump 90,000 pounds of tea into the salt water. There are secret signs and countersigns for recognition. One Mohawk says Ugh! A second raises his hatchet and says, Me know you. The first then counters by raising his hatchet and gives another Ugh!
In all that crowd no one wanted to identify a Mohawk. One man said he would be a witness provided the trial would be 3,000 miles away in London. There never was a trial. Governor Hutchinson wouldn't have a trial in Boston because he thought the jury would turn out to be Mohawks or their sympathizers. The Mohawks remain one of the mysteries of the American Revolution. The events leading up to the evening of the December 1 6th Tea Party might shed a bit of light.

October 23rd
Brother Warren and Brother Revere meet at the Green Dragon Tavern to publish the Resolution of the North End Caucus: To oppose the vending of any tea sent by the East India Company . . . with our lives and fortunes.

November 3rd
Brother William Molineux, a member of St. Andrews Lodge, acts as spokesman for the Sons of Liberty. A notice was placed on the Liberty Tree that the Consignees of the Tea were to report and publicly resign their commissions as tea agents for the East India Company. Ignore this at your peril. The Consignees do not appear. A crowd of 300 people follow Brother Molineux and Brother Warren to the Customs House to confront the Consignees. The crowd tears the doors off the hinges and Brother Molineux confronts the Consignees. Will they resign as Consignees so the tea ships can turn around and carry the tea back to England? No. The Consignees would not resign. In fact they then moved to Fort William under military protection.
In New York, Philadelphia and Charleston, the Consignees for the tea had resigned their Commissions at the request of the Sons of Liberty. Those tea ships had sailed back to England with the tea. There were no Consignees to pay the tax and sign for the tea. But not in Boston! Governor Hutchinson and his family were in the tea business. Two of Governor Hutchinson's sons and a son-in-law were Consignees. The Tea Act stated that if the tea was not sold by December 17th, it could be seized by the custon house and sold for nonpayment of duties. Once the tea was in the Governor's hands, he could dispose of it secretly to local merchants. No. The Consignees would not resign. Steps had to be taken before December 17th.

November 5th
The Town Committee of Selectmen try another approach to the Governor and the Consignees. These Selectmen are leading tradesmen in Boston. They are led by Brother John Hancock, a member of the St. Andrews Lodge. He is the richest man in New England. He is the Colonel of the Governor's Cadet Corps. He has been given special orders by the Governor to maintain order around the Tea Ships. Also on the Committee of Selectmen is Brother John Rowe. He is the Grand Master of the St. John's Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (Moderns). The St. John's Lodge meets upstairs over the Bunch of Grapes Tavern and most of the members are Tory in their sympathy. Brother Rowe is the owner of one of the tea ships, the Eleanor. He has promised to use his influence with the Governor to return the
tea ships and the tea to England. It is a matter of trade with the Selectmen and they use a different appeal: The Selectmen meet to wait on the Consignees and request them from a regard of their own characters and the peace and good order of this Town and Province immediately to resign their appointment. No. The Consignees still would not resign. History might have been different if the Governor of Massachusetts had not been in the tea trade.

November 29th
The Tea Ship Dartmouth arrives in Boston. The Committee of Correspondence, led by Brother Joseph Warren, distributes handbills calling for a Mass Town Meeting to return the tea whence it came. The detestable Tea shipped for this port by the East India Comnpany is now arrived in this harbor. The Hour of Destruction on manly Opposition to the Machinations of Tyranny stares you in the face. Five thousand people gather and vote to return the tea ship. Brother John Hancock acts as Moderator for the Town Meetings. Brother Paul Revere starts his work as a guard on the tea ship to see that the tea is not unloaded.

November 30th
Records of the St. Andrews Lodge indicate that the Lodge is adjourned this night on account of few Brethren present. Note: Consignees of Tea took up the Brethren's time.

December 15th
Time is running out. Colonel John Hancock goes to the tea ships to review the Governor's Cadet Corps. Both he and Brother Warren had been Orators at the commemoration of those who had died in the Boston Massacre. The Consignees were blaming the North End Caucus guard because they would not let the Consignees unload the tea. The Caucus had been guarding the tea at gun point and holding secret sessions at the Green Dragon Tavern. The Consignees were blamed by both Tory and Patriot because they would not withdraw and let the tea be returned to England. Brother Warren goes to the Customs House with Francis Rotch, the owner of the tea ship, Dartmouth. All exits to the harbor are blocked. By law the Customs Officials cannot release the ship unless the Consignees unload the tea and pay the tax. On December 17th the Customs Officials are to seize the tea according to the law.
Brother Warren visits Brother Rowe, owner of the tea ship, Eleanor. These two Grand Masters hold a unique title in American history for the Ancients and Moderns. Each were called the Grand Master of the Continent of America. They meet in a concern for his ship and cargo. Another appeal must be made to the Governor.

December 16th
The evening of the famous Tea Party. The records of the St. Andrew Lodge show that only five members were present. A note says Lodge closed on account of few members present. The Committee of Correspondence with Brother Warren calls for a Mass Town Meeting. Seven thousand people meet in and around the Old South Meeting House. It is the largest crowd that had ever assembled in Boston. They wait to hear a message from Governor Hutchinson. Will he return the tea to England?
Seven miles away at Milton, the Governor meets with Francis Rotch, the owner of the Dartmouth. Brother John Hancock and Brother John Rowe help in the appeal to the Governor to return the tea. The Governor would not let the ships leave with the tea. It would be contrary to the Customs law. Instead he would give the Dartmouth military escort to Castle Island and Fort Williams. There his sons would unload the tea and pay the tax. The owner of the Dartmouth did not want to move his ship under those circumstances of a 60-gun warship military escort.
The Dartmouth owner returns to the crowded Old South ~eeting Hall with the news. He is asked two questions. Will he take the Dartmouth to England with the tea? No. It would mean his ruin. Would he unload the tea at the wharf? No. He was not authorized to unload it.
The meeting ended and it was then that the Mohawks unloaded a consignment of tea at Griffin's Wharf. The Governor's Cadet Corps stood far back from the crowd on the wharf. The crews of the tea ships went below and gave no assistance. Some of them even helped unload the tea. The crowd observed a silence. No damage was done to the ships. No tea was kept by an individual.
The whole Tea Party was in range of a 60-gun warship. The British Admiral watched from the upstairs window of a house nearby. Afterward the Mohawks marched by under his window. The Admiral opened the window and shouted, Tomorrow you'll have to pay the piper!
Brother Paul Revere mounts his horse and carries the news to New York. With that news a tea ship at New York turns around and sails back to England with the tea. The news is spread by the Committee of Correspondence. There are over one hundred of these Committees in Massachusetts alone. From the time of the Boston Tea Party the East India Company sold no more tea in America. Brother John Rowe calls the dumping of the tea a disastrous affair in his diary. I can truly say, I know nothing of the matter, nor who were concerned with it. This might I believe have been prevented. I am sincerely sorry for the event. Brother Rowe was a Loyalist and he remains a Loyalist.
The English Attorney General placed Joseph Warren's name at the top of a list of five. The charge would have been Treason for the Boston Tea Party. There was a lack of evidence. The Ministers never pressed charges. This was not the first time that Governor Hutchinson and his sons had taken a loss in their tea trading. Just three years before Brother William Molineux and Brother James Otis (St. John's Lodge) led a crowd of a thousand patriots from Faneuil Hall to confront the Hutchinsons. That time there was a nonimportation agreement in Boston. It was about to run out. His sons had been importing tea and hiding it, waiting to make a profit. His sons surrendered the tea and the money for the tea they had already sold. The Hutchinsons didn't forget it. Nor did the Sons of Liberty. After the Tea Party, Governor Hutchinson was withdrawn to London for consultation. The King and Ministry sent in General Gage as a new military Governor and gave him full discretion to find evidence for a trial of those responsible for the Boston Tea Party. There was no trial in Boston.
Benjamin Franklin, a Grand Master of Pennsylvania, was in London at the time. He called the Boston Tea Party an act of violent injustice. A group of London merchants wanted to pay twice the value of the tea to keep trade open. Franklin offered to pay for the tea himself. Though the mischief was the act of persons unknown, yet as probably they cannot be found, or brought to answer for it, there seems to be some reasonable claim on the society at large in which it happened. But no one ever paid for the tea, because Parliament closed down the port of Boston, cut off the trade, and sent in the troops.
Many years later Sir Winston Churchill - Prime Minister, Historian and Freemason - commented on the act of Parliament that had given the East India Company a monopoly on tea. Brother Churchill called it a stupid blunder.
Americans have been drinking coffee ever since. The English said that the reason the Americans lost their taste for tea was that they had a peculiar way of mixing it in the salt water.
It started in the Green Dragon Tavern. If a man ordered tea, he was a Tory. If he ordered coffee, he was a Patriot. It is not strange that no one could be found to identify the Mohawks. It was the same the year before in Rhode Island. Some Patriots dressed as Indians attacked the Gaspee in long boats. The British claimed that Brother Abraham Whipple (St. John's Lodge, No. 1, Providence) was the leader. They promised to hang him. Brother Whipple said they would have to catch him first.
George Washington, at age 22, was asked why he became a Mason. He said it was because he found them to be Leaders in the community.
Faneuil Hall and the Old South Meeting House still stand in Boston. The Green Dragon Tavern burned down years ago. The heritage lives on in a picture made in 1773. The artist had the fortitude to sign his name to the words: Where we met to Plan the Consignment of a few Shiploads of Tea. Dec 16, 1773. If Leaders in the community ever meet at the Green Dragon Tavern and sing the Rally Mohawks song for a television show, let them be sure that their makeup is on straight.

Edward M. Gair
Southern California Research Lodge
Copyright 2001

Steblecki, Edith
Paul Revere and Freemasonry,Paul Revere Mernorial Association, 1985

Roberts, Allen E.
Freemasonry in American History Macoy Publishing, 1985

Roberts, Allen E.
Seekers of Truth Anchor Communications, 1988

Knollengerg, Bernhard
Growth of the American Revolution The Free Press, 1975

Miller, John C.
Origins of the American Revolution Stanford University Press, 1943

Masons are behind it all 12.Jan.2006 01:11


The revolution against England was NOT a popular idea. Most people in The Colonies were quite happy with the way things were going. The people who were concerned about the taxes were those who would have to pay the majority of the taxes: the wealthy, the factories, and the shop owners. The majority of people in this country worked either for themselves or for someone else. The Boston Tea Party, you will recall, occurred because of the tax on tea. The fact of the matter is that most of the people in The Colonies didn't drink tea. It was mainly the wealthy who retained that habit. It was, though, symbolic for the continued taxing to pay for the British nobility's excesses. Fundamentalist Christians have this mistaken idea that when The Declaration of Independence was signed, everyone stood in line to sign it. Actually, it took over 5 years for everyone to sign it. That was well after the Revolutionary War was won. Part of the problem was transportation the other part was that many of the signers weren't sure that breaking away from England was the best thing to do. After all, England was the greatest military and naval power in the world and their protection was an asset. So what if they taxed The Colonies? The taxes were necessary for having the British military and navy ready to defend them.

Now, what about the Founding Fathers of the United States?

Something like 98% of the Founding Fathers of the United States were MASONS. Their main religious affiliation was UNITARIAN. The rest were either Catholic or Church of England. If you will look at the Masonic rolls of Boston (MA), New York (NY), Philadelphia (PA), Richmond (VA) and a dozen other cities lining the east coast, it reads like a Who's Who in American History. Many of the historical figures who came to help The Colonies in their break from England (e.g. Lafayette from France and Polaski from Poland) were also Masons. In fact, many of the officers who were fighting on the British side were also Masons. Masons, at that time, were DEISTS. A deist is one who believes that a God created the world but that same God doesn't interfere with it. Most Christians are theists. A theist sees God interfering with or can interfere with what's happening in the world. (This isn't any different than the Pagans who believed that the gods interfered with the lives of humans.) In other words, the Founding Fathers of this country saw that what happens here was up to them. It wasn't God's will that The Colonies break away from England. It wasn't God's will that there be a United States of America. Nor was Manifest Destiny God's will. It wasn't God's will that the United States eventually become a world power.

The Masonic tradition at that time was highly steeped in OCCULTISM. The Masons were all practicing CEREMONIAL MAGICIANS. George Washington, wearing a Masonic apron, actually performed a Masonic (occult) rite when the cornerstone of the capital was laid and he placed a box containing Masonic medallions in that cornerstone. The signing of the Declaration of Independence was based on astrological timing worked out by one of the Founding Fathers. July 4th, 1776 at 12:00 noon at Philadelphia (PA) was very significant. That very time is when John Hancock placed his signature on the Declaration. They wanted to make sure that all of the "signs" were propitious for this infant country. Would Christians go to this trouble? Absolutely NOT! Consequently, the United States was founded by occultists based on occult principles.

The Founding Fathers did NOT care for people who would manipulate The Bible for their own purposes. Their disdain for manipulative Christian religious philosophies and manipulative preachers is well-documented. People like Jerry Fallwell, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Kenneth Copeland, Gene Scott, Jimmy Swaggart, Peter Popov, Benny Hinn, and others of their ilk would bring out their anger. Read the works of Thomas Paine ("Common Sense") and Thomas Jefferson. (Fundamentalists conveniently over-look Jefferson's scathing attacks on these kinds of preachers.) Jefferson, himself, was so angry with these kinds of philosophies and people that he even wrote his own version of The Bible. The Bible that George Washington and many of the presidents took the oath of office on was, in fact, a Masonic Bible. That Bible is now in the Smithsonian.

The Masonic tradition at that time was a powerful influence on the world. For centuries just about every Pope, Cardinal, Bishop, nobleman, the royalty, and many generals were Masons. Many important people were also Masons. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormons, was a Mason, as were many of the Baroque and Classical composers. Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, and more than half of the U.S. presidents were Masons. It was in the middle of the 19th century that THE CHURCH condemned the Masonic tradition and said they were all a bunch of devil worshippers. After The Church's condemnation of the Masonic tradition, the manipulative branches of Christianity took up the banner (even though they see The Catholic Church as in league with the devil) because it aided them in their cause " control of the masses.

Another thing you need to consider is that the principles upon which The United States was founded upon were, by and large, NOT Christian principles. Freedom of religion is definitely not a Christian principle. Nor is the right to vote a Christian principle. Free education for everyone is also not a Christian ideal. Also excluded are freedom of speech, press, or assembly. But then, slavery was permitted by Christianity (see Eph. 6:5) and this verse was used by, what were, the Southern fundamentalists of the time. In essence, the rights of the individual were NOT Christian but were Masonic ideals.

It's time that the facts be presented. Most people will not take the time to research and find the truth. Fundamentalists are always going around talking about The Truth, but when they are confronted by it they refuse to accept it. There are two types of ignorance: The first type of ignorance is that brought about by nature where an individual doesn't have the mental capacities to seek and/or understand it. The second type of ignorance is chosen ignorance. This is the byword of fundamentalist Christianity. Through half-truths (half-truths are whole lies), purposeful semantic manipulations, and feigned knowledge and wisdom they "trap(ped) you with gile (lies)" (as Paul said to the Corinthians). The Truth is out there. You need to find it for yourself. No one has it for you.