Massachusetts Historical Society
America's oldest historical society, founded 1791.

Back to The Boston Tea Party

"The following was dispersed in Hand Bills among the worthy Citizens of Philadelphia ..."

The following was dispersed in Hand Bills among the worthy Citizens of Philadelphia ...

Section Viewing Options NOTE

Jump:
overview | large | transcription HELP
"You Are ... Political Bombadiers"
Colonial activists focus attention on the East India Company tea agents. If they can be cajoled or intimidated, as the stamp masters had been in 1765, then this tax, too, may be revoked. This appeal, written by Philadelphia merchant Thomas Mifflin, an outspoken opponent of the Stamp Act and proponent of nonimportation, is ultimately successful. Swayed by the patriots' logic and by associated mass protests, Philadelphia's tea agents refuse shipment on the tea bound for their port. Mifflin's warnings about tyranny and monopoly echo throughout the colonies.

To examine all four pages of this newspaper, please see the online display of The Boston-Gazette and Country Journal, 25 October 1773.

Questions to Consider

1. Mifflin's letter is a form of persuasive writing. What arguments does he make? What emotions does he invoke? What point(s) do you find most persuasive?

2. Mifflin argues that the tea tax is more dangerous than the stamp tax. Why does he think so? Cite your evidence.

Further Exploration

3. Does the phrase "By uniting we stand--by dividing we fall" sound familiar to you? Where else have you heard this phrase?

4. The address is signed "Scaevola." Research this figure and report back to the class about his exploits. Speculate about why Mifflin adopted this name as his pseudonym?