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Coming of the American Revolution: Document Viewer
Massachusetts Historical Society
America's oldest historical society, founded 1791.

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Tea, Destroyed by Indians

Tea, Destroyed by Indians Broadside

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Bostonians, Keep Up Your Courage
The destruction of the tea is "but an attack upon property," as John Adams notes, but he worries that "another similar exertion of popular power may produce the destruction of lives." Patriot agitators anticipate the same possibility, but, eager to capitalize on the drama of the events of 16 December, they urge Bostonians not to shy away from a firm and courageous defense of their rights. In terms reminiscent of Boston Massacre verse, the author of this broadside once again raises the specter of martyrs, graves, and blood-bought liberties.

Questions to Consider

1. Who are the patriots seeking to impress? Who do they hope will understand their commitment to liberty?

2. Discuss the imagery of the verse. Comment specifically on the words blood, sons, martyrs, slaves.

3. Explain lines 3 and 4: "Though you were INDIANS, come from distant shores, / Like MEN you acted / not like savage Moors."

4. Explain the first two lines of the concluding stanza: "Let us with hearts of steel now stand the task, / Throw off all darksome ways, nor wear a Mask."

5. Explain the shift of wording in the final version of the refrain.

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