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

Back to The Boston Tea Party

"Extract of a Letter from Philadelphia, Dec. 4, 1773. Our tea consignees ..."

Extract of a Letter from Philadelphia, Dec. 4, 1773. Our tea consignees ...

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Will You Shrink at Boston?
By early December 1773, tea agents in New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston have all resigned their commissions. When the duty goes unpaid in Charleston, its customs agent seizes the East India tea; tea ships never enter the other two ports. As Boston's tea agents stubbornly refuse to resign their commissions, patriots in Philadelphia doubt Bostonians' resolve. Philadelphia and New York merchants have long satisfied their local markets with smuggled Dutch tea, but Boston merchants have never successfully tapped that illicit trade. Instead, whether overtly or covertly, they have trafficked in the dutied English tea. Will they now stand idly by as the East India tea is landed?

To examine all four pages of this newspaper, please see the online display of The Boston-Gazette and Country Journal, 13 December 1773.

Questions to Consider

1. Review the roles of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia in nonimportation.

2. Why do Philadelphia patriots doubt Bostonians' resolve? What are their specific accusations?

3. Why are Boston merchants sending boxes of brickbats to London? What are brickbats? Be sure to explore the metaphorical meaning of the term as well.

Further Exploration