The staff at the RedState Depqrtment of History are caffeine addicts. We get the headaches when we haven’t had our morning infusion and that isn’t very much fun.
But this week, our anniversary isn’t based on coffee, but rather on tea, and a group of patriots who helped bring about the American Revolution through two groups which helped shape public opinion in the American colonies.
Today is the 245th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, and most every conservative knows the story. A group of men boarded three British ships anchored in Boston Harbor and dumped tea worth about $1.5 million in today’s money overboard.
The act was seen as one of the true precursors to the American Revolution, but today’s entry is about the leadership of the Tea Party and the groups which helped organize resistance to British rule.
Most students of the era are well familiar with the Sons of Liberty, the group of Bostonians which held the highest profile and which get most of the credit for turning Boston into a hotbed of revolution.
Yet some of the leadership of the Sons of Liberty – and some of the people who took part in the Boston Tea Party – were members of a group which preceded it.
They were known as the Loyal Nine, and their meetings were held in complete secrecy. They were formed in reaction to the Stamp Act of 1765, which in its purest essence was a tax on paper. The Nine were local artisans and tradesmen – not city leaders – but still did their best not to be associated with the type of mob violence they assumed would be needed to make their point and prevent the Stamp Act from taking effect.
They found a man named Ebenezer Mackintosh, who was experienced in gathering crowds, shall we say, and induced him to help bring the people into the streets against the Stamp Act. He did as instructed, was credited with leading the resistance effort, and enjoyed notoriety the Loyal Nine were only to happy to let him have.
The Nine were also responsible for christening what came to be known as the Liberty Tree in Boston, where they occasionally held their secret meetings – but soon they were supplanted by a larger group.
The Sons of Liberty eventually incorporated the Loyal Nine into their membership and some of them became leaders in the group. Four of the Loyal Nine were known to have participated in the Boston Tea Party as members of the Sons of Liberty, but all of the Loyal Nine joined the Sons of Liberty.
For his part, Samuel Adams was, as we all know, an ardent member of the Sons of Liberty. He is generally given credit for inciting the Boston Tea Party due to his comments made at a public meeting in Boston’s Fanueil Hall shortly before the event, at which he declared that “nothing more can be done to save the country.”
Adams’ agitation helped the Loyal Nine stop the Stamp Act from being enforced in Massachusetts, for which he gained notoriety on both sides of the Atlantic.
So while the Sons of Liberty gain deserved credit for helping raise the revolutionary spirit in the United States, it was the Loyal Nine who, as it were, helped get the ball rolling.
The Nine included:
John Avery, a distiller by trade and club secretary
Henry Bass, a cousin of Samuel Adams,
Thomas Chase, a distiller,
Stephen Cleverly, a brazier,
Thomas Crafts, a painter,
Benjamin Edes, printer of the Boston Gazette,
Joseph Field, a ship captain,
John Smith, a brazier
George Trott, a jeweler.
Happy Sunday and enjoy today’s open thread!