History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 3

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXIV.
THE BOSTON TEA-PARTY.

AUGUST–DECEMBER 1773.

The East India company, who were now by act of parliament authorized to export tea to America duty free in England, were warned by Americans that their adventure would end in loss; but their scruples were overruled by Lord North, who answered peremptorily: “It is to no purpose making objections, for the king will have it so. The king means to try the question with America.”

The time was short, the danger to Boston imminent, resistance at all hazards was the purpose of its committee of correspondence; violent resistance might become necessary, and to undertake it without a certainty of union would only bring ruin on the town and on the cause.

A congress, therefore, on “the plan of union proposed by Virginia,” was the fixed purpose of Samuel Adams. He would have no delay, no waiting for increased strength; for, said he, “when our liberty is gone, history and experience will teach us that an increase of inhabitants will be but an increase of slaves.” Through the press he appealed to the continent for a congress, in order to insist effectually upon such terms with England as would not admit for the interior government of the colonies any other authority than that of their respective legislatures. It was not possible to join issue with the king more precisely.

The first difficulty to be overcome existed in Boston itself. Cushing, the speaker, who had received a private letter from Dartmouth, and was lulled into confiding in “the noble and generous sentiments” of that minister, advised that for the

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