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

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"To the Printers of the Massachusetts Gazette ..."

To the Printers of the Massachusetts Gazette ...

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Paying for the Tea
Throughout the summer of 1774, leaders in colonies across North America debate the wisdom of boycotting British goods in response to recent acts of Parliament. Boston and Massachusetts, which are most affected by the acts, lead the way. Some colonists urge caution, and seek to stall the immediate implementation of a non-importation or non-consumption movement. Many others support the idea of calling a continental congress to discuss the best approach to resistance. Certain colonists, however, remind Bostonians that these so-called intolerable acts are a specific response to the town's destruction of tea in December 1773. As one Philadelphian notes in his letter to the newspaper, Bostonians could rectify their current situation with one simple gesture.

To examine all four pages of this newspaper, please see the online display of the The Massachusetts Gazette: And The Boston Weekly News-Letter , 14 July 1774.

Questions to Consider

1. What is the purpose of this open letter?

2. What does the author entreat Bostonians to do to prove that they "regard honesty as much as liberty?"

3. How does the author compare what happened to tea arriving in Boston with tea arriving in his own port of Philadelphia? What is the author's tone when he writes of the "destruction of your tea by a mob?" Does he blame Boston for how things have turned out?

Further Exploration

4. Imagine that you are living in Philadelphia or New York. How would you react to the dumping of the tea in Boston? Would you support Bostonians' actions or chastise them? Write your own editorial for a Boston newspaper describing your thoughts on the matter.