A Committee of Correspondence letter to Benjamin Franklin in London, December 21, 1775.
Lnt Capt Hall
Boston Dec. 21. 1773
It has been the Expectation of many of the the Colonists had great expectations that the last session of Parliament would have put a final end to those greivances [grievances] under which they had so long been oppressed, and again which they had so long, in vain, demonstrated. They expected that the Revenue Act would have been repealed and that they should no more have had reason to complain of the unconstitutional exertions of Parliamentary Power: They were naturally led to from these expectations by ^from^ the Conduct of Administration, and the favourable representations of their Friends on your side of the water, who lately encouraged them with assurances, that if all things remained quiet in America, these unhappy dissentions would soon terminate in a lasting Union: But how, Sir were they surprised to find they had been deceived? To find that the Parliament, at the very time they expected relief, pursued new measures for effectually securing and enhancing these oppressive revenues, with the view by an Act, passed the las session, empowered the
Benjamin Franklin Esq.
the East India Company to ship their teas to America. From this Act, they readily saw that they had nothing to hope from the favor of Administration, but that they rather discovered an indisposition that the Parliament should grant from any relief, they ^(a)^ looked upon the Act ^it^ pregnant with new greivances [grievances], having the way to further Impositions, and in the consequences threatening the final destruction of American Liberties. Thrown by the Idea into a state of Desperation, the United Voice of the People, not only in this Province but in New York & Pensylvania [Pennsylvania], and as far as we can learn, In all the Colonies, was that they would never suffer the Tea to be landed, but would prefer any species of hazard and danger to a tame submission to measures, which if pursued must reduce them to a state of abject slavery. Perhaps it would have been Impossible for the wit of man, or the wisdom of Administration could only to have invented a method so effectual for raising the Spirit of the Colonies, or promoting amoung [among] them an entire union of sentiment at the same
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(a) they considered the Act as introductive of monopolies which besides the train of Evils that attend them in a commercial View are forever dangerous to Publick Liberty. More especially under the direction & Influence of Government.
time People on your side the water have for several months been repeatedly information our merchants of this maneuver and advising them as they regarded every tie of Freedom their sacred rights to withstand the landing of the Teas by the most vigorous opposition.
While the minds of the People were impressed with the sentiments, the vessels arrived with the Teas, consigned to Messrs Richard Clark & Sons, Thomas & Elisha Hutchinson, Benjamin Faneuil & Joshual Winslow Esqs; previous to this Town of Boston had several meetings, in order to forward induce the Consignees to resign their trust, but to no [not] postpone, and immediately upon the arrival of the Vessels aforesaid, that every measure possible might be taken to prevent Confusion and disorder, while the minds of all were [illegible crossed out] in great agitation, the People in their & many of the neighbouring [neighboring] Towns assembled in the old south Church ^meeting house^ to prevail (B) for the the Consignees to send back the Teas and if possible to preserve them it from Destruction, which the treatments of the People might justly lead them to expect. You will see by the inclosed [enclosed] paper the measures they took
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B (Faneuil Hall not being capacious enough to contain the People that attended)
and the resolves they hoped, and will wonder perhaps that these resolves & measures were in vain‚they not only treated with the Consignees but with the owner & master of these vessels, but all without success. Despairing to effectuate any method of accommodation, after having tried all that could be derived to no agreeable other purpose, they Dissolved the meeting, which till that time constant & declared design had protected the Teas from destruction nigh twenty days were now passed since the arrival of one of the Tea Vessels commanded by Capt Hall, at which time, according to the Act of Parliament, it was in the power of the Custom House offices to take the Teas into their own possession in order to secure the duties, there was just grounds to think that they intended to do it the minute the Twenty Days were expired & that they would attempt to land them by force and overbear any opposition that might be made, by a second effusion of Blood: with these apprehensions, the Teas on the evening of the 16th Instant were destroyed by a number of Persons unknown and in disguise—such was the obstinacy
of the Consignees their advisers & coadjustors, such their aversion to all conciliating measures, that they are almost universally condemned, & some even of the Court party amoung [among] us, acknowledge that the destruction of the Tea must be imputed to there obstinate Enemies of our Liberties, who never would consent to any method proposed for its preservation, & who perhaps united to irritate and inflame the minds of an injured, oppressed People to the measures of Violence of which afterwards they hoped to make their own advantages—
The House of Representatives at the last Session ^a^ Committee to write to their agent, in pursuance of their appointment we have given you this information of the present state of our affairs and doubt not you will make such improvement of this intelligence as shall be most for the interest of this Province in particular & the Colonies in general.
We are with respect, Your must humble Servants
Copy of [illegible]
Franklin from the Committee of Independence United[?]