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

Back to The Boston Tea Party

Boston, December 1, 1773. At a meeting of the people ...

Boston, December 1, 1773. At a meeting of the people ... Broadside

Page Viewing Options NOTE

overview | small | large | transcription HELP
The Body Speaks
Throughout November, the town's patriots have been meeting, writing, and agitating about the tea. On 28 November 1773, the Dartmouth enters Boston Harbor carrying 114 chests of the East India import. Matters are at an impasse: if returned to England, the tea and the vessel carrying it may be confiscated; if the Townshend duty is not paid by 17 December, the customs collector can impound the tea; the patriots will not allow it to be warehoused; and the Massachusetts legislature has ignored requests to safeguard it. Under the circumstances, the tea agents think it wise to seek shelter among the king's troops at Castle William. Patriot leaders call an unofficial, supra-town meeting, referred to as the Body. Over the next two days, it grapples with the thorny dilemma.

Questions to Consider

1. Create a detailed timeline of the proceedings of the 29-30 November tea meetings.

2. Identify the role of the following individuals: Jonathan Williams; the "watch"; John Singleton Copley; Captain James Hall; Richard Clarke; Francis Rotch.

Further Exploration

3. Find information about Faneuil Hall and Old South Meetinghouse. Locate the two buildings on a contemporary map of Boston.