The British East India Company had controlled all tea trading between India and the British colonies. As a result of the tea tax, the colonies refused to buy the British tea. Instead, they smuggled tea in from Holland. This left the British East India Company with warehouses full of unsold tea, and the company was in danger of going out of business.
In May 1773, Prime Minister North and the British parliament passed the Tea Act. The Tea Act allowed the British East India Company to sell tea directly to the colonists, bypassing the colonial wholesale merchants.
To fully understand the resentment of the colonies to Great Britain and King George III, one must understand that this was not the first time that the colonists were treated unfairly. In previous years, the 13 colonies saw a number of commercial tariffs including the Sugar Act of 1764, which taxed sugar, coffee, and wine, the Stamp Act of 1765, which put a tax on all printed matter, such as newspapers and playing cards, and the Townshend Acts of 1767 which placed taxes on items like glass, paints, paper, and tea. The Tea Act of 1773 was the last straw.
On November 27, 1773, three ships from the East India Co., named the Dartmouth, Eleanor and the Beaver, loaded with tea landed at Boston and were prevented from unloading their cargo. The Governor of Massachusetts demanded that the tea be unloaded. He also demanded that the people pay the taxes and duty on tea.
On the evening of December 16, 1773, a group of men calling themselves the "Sons of Liberty" (whose leader was Samuel Adams) went to the Boston Harbor. The men were dressed as Mohawk Indians. They boarded three British tea ships, the Beaver, the Eleanor and the Dartmouth, Quickly, quietly, and in an orderly manner. Once on board, the patriots went to work striking the chests with axes and hatchets. Thousands of spectators watched in silence. Only the sounds of ax blades splitting wood rang out from Boston Harbor. Once the crates are open, the patriots dumped forty-five tons of tea into the Boston Harbor.
Fearing any connection to their treasonous deed, the patriots took off their shoes and shook them overboard. They swept the ships' decks, and made each ship's first mate attest that only the tea was damaged.
When all was through, Lendall Pitts led the patriots from the wharf, tomahawks and axes resting on their shoulders. A fife played as they marched past the home where British Admiral Montague had been spying on their work. Montague yelled as they past, "Well boys, you have had a fine, pleasant evening for your Indian caper, haven't you? But mind, you have got to pay the fiddler yet!"
Montague's words were to be an omen for the patriots. The party was indeed over for Boston.
The following brave men are historically said to have participated in the Boston Tea Party that cold December night in 1773:
NATHANIEL BARBER, SAMUEL BARNARD, HENRY BASS, EDWARD BATES, THOMAS BOLTER, DAVID BRADLEE, JOSIAH BRADLEE, NATHANIEL BRADLEE, THOMAS BRADLEE, JAMES BREWER, SETH INGERSOLL BROWN, STEPHEN BRUSE. BENJAMIN BURTON, NICHOLAS CAMPBELL, GEORGE CARLTON, THOMAS CHASE, BENJAMIN CLARKE, JOHN COHRAN, GILBERT COLESWORTHY, GERSHOM COLLIER, ADAM COLLSON, JAMES FOSTER DONDY, S. COLLIDGE, SAMUEL COOPER, THOMAS CRAFTS, Jr, JOHN CRANE, THOMAS DANA, ROBERT DAVIS, EDWARD DOLBEAR, GEORGE DUTON, JOSEPH EATON, JOSEPH EAYRES ECKLEY, BENJAMIN EDES, WILLIAM ETHERIDGE, THOMAS GERRISH, SAMUEL GORE, MOSES GRANT, NATHIEL GREENE, SAMUEL HAMMOND, WILLIAM HENDLEY, GEORGE T. HEWES, JOHN HICKS, SAMUEL HOBBS, JOHN HOOTEN, SAMUEL HOWARD, EDWARD C. HOWE, JONATHAN HUNNEWELL, RICHARD HUNNEWELL, RICHARD HUNNEWELL, JR, THOMAS HUNSTABLE, ABRAHAM HUNT, DANIEL INGERSOLL, DANIEL INGOLDSON, DAVID KINNISON, JOSEPH LEE, AMOS LINCOLN, MATHEW LORING, JOSEPH LOVERING, THOMAS MACHIN, EBENEZER MACKINTOSH, ARCHIBALD MACNEIL MARTIN,
THOMPSON MAXWELL, JOHN MAY MEAD, THOMAS MELVILL, WILLIAM MOLINEUX, THOMAS MOORE, ANTHONY MORSE, JOSEPH MOUNTFORD, ELIPHALET NEWELL, JOSEPH PALMER, JONATHAN PARKER, JOSEPH PAYSON, SAMUEL PECK, JOHN PETERS, WILLIAM PIERCE, LENDELL PITTS, SAMUEL PITTS, THOMAS PORTER, HENRY PRENTISS, JOHN PRINCE, EDWARD PROCTOR, HENRY PURKITT, JOHN RANDALL, PAUL REVERE, BENJAMIN RICE, JOSEPH ROBY, JOHN RUSSELL, WILLIAM RUSSELL, ROBERT SESSIONS, JOSEPH SHED, BENJAMIN SIMPSON, PETER SLATER, SAMUEL SLOPER, THOMAS SPEAR, SAMUEL SPRAGUE, JOHN SPUR, JAMES STARR, PHINEAS STEARNS, EBENEZER STEVENS, ELISHA STORY, JAMES SWAN, ABE TOWER, JOHN TRUMAN, THOMAS URANN, JOSIAH WHEELER, THOMAS WHITE, DAVID WILLIAMS, ISAAC WILLIAMS, JER. WILLIAMS, TOM WILLIAMS, NATHANIEL WILLIS, JOSHUA WYETH, THOMAS YOUNG