Tonight, as I sit in my rocking chair by the fire, I glance out at the full moon. The trees surrounding my house cast eerie shadows through the windows. It is May 22, 1817 and I am 82 years old. As I gaze into the fire, I see the ghosts of my friends from adventures long ago; from a time when I was young and our country was young. I open my leather-bound journal and look back through memories of my life. I am writing these memoirs as a testimony to future generations that this country will always stand up for liberty. Our stories shall never be lost and our honor shall shine through for eternity. I want my children and grandchildren to remember the sacrifices that we made for our beloved country. I dip my quill in ink and continue writing as my mind goes back in time and I relive my adventures.
Chapter 6: Boston Tea Party
It is December 16, 1773. I, along with others including Samuel Adams, was overwhelmed with anger when the British, three years ago, repealed all of the Townshend duties except for the tax on tea. Tea! What a simple thing to harbor such outrage…but there is so much more to it. The British believe that they can take away everything from us; to the last cent that we own. We need to let them know that that is absolutely not true. We will stand up for our rights and what we know is right.
And so, my fellow citizens and I administered these series of actions. First, we encouraged everyone to refuse buying the tea, and we smuggled it in from Holland. In addition, the dockworkers began refusing to unload the tea from ships. This left the British East India Company with warehouses full of unsold tea and the company was in danger of going out of business. In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act. It gave the East India Company a chance to avoid bankruptcy with new regulations that allowed the company to sell tea to the colonists at a low price, even lower than the price of smuggled tea. The British reasoned that the Americans would willingly pay the tax if they were able to pay a low price for it.
On November 28, a ship, the Dartmouth, arrived in the Boston Harbor with Darjeeling tea from the East India Company. We were determined not to let the cargo land in the city. Two other ships, the Beaver and the Eleanor, arrived with more tea. Governor Thomas Hutchinson, the British Royal governor of colonial Massachusetts, insisted that the tea be brought into port. Despite warnings from other officials, he remained firm and stated that the cargos would be brought ashore and taxed in compliance with the law.
The Tea Act required that the necessary tax must be collected within twenty days of a ship’s arrival. That made the deadline today, December 16. During that time, Samuel Adams held public meetings at the Old South Meeting House about the situation. Crowds consisting of up to 5,000 people clogged the surrounding streets. At one of the meetings, we made a decision to ask the deliverers to return the tea. Today, the owner of the Dartmouth agreed to sail his ship back to England. However, the British officials denied permission for the ship to clear the port. The British then began preparations to seize the ship since the taxes were not paid. When the ship owner told us that he was not able to depart from Boston, we decided to take action. Tonight, we are disguising in Indian garb and casting crates of tea into the harbor.
A gust of wind sweeps through the house, bringing me back to reality. A cloud just covered the moon, temporarily blocking out the light that emanated from it. I can smell the hint of summer in the air. Soon, the temperature will rise and thunderstorms will be common. I sigh, pick up my quill and return to my writings.
At the moment, I am hiding in a dark cargo hold beneath the Beaver. The air is crisp and chilly and I can see my breath each time I exhale. Not even an hour before this, I disguised myself in Indian attire, equipped with a small hatchet and painted my face and hands with coal from a blacksmith. I then departed to Griffin’s Wharf where the ships that contained the tea were. When I first arrived on the streets, I saw many others dressed and painted like I was. We then marched together to our destination with the name, “Sons of Liberty”.
I abandon my hiding place and go to the deck of the ship where we heave crates of tea into the Boston Harbor. Oh what a feeling it is to protest! We must be brave and stand up for our rights at all times. I dump crate after crate of tea into the harbor. The winter air bites at my face but I ignore it. The crates are wooden and rather heavy yet nothing deters me.
When it was time to leave, I walked away feeling accomplished. That night, I, together with sixty other American patriots, had thrown a total of 342 chests of tea belonging to the British East India Company into the Boston Harbor. This was a magnificent day. It was extraordinary. And it will be known for all eternity as the Boston Tea Party.
I lift my head up and remember how I felt on that brilliant day. I pray that no one will ever forget the Boston Tea Party, when determined men decided to not let the British take control of their lives. Whoever is reading my memoirs, I hope that you pass down this story to be certain that it never be lost.
Reflection: I am proud of this essay because I feel that I succeeded in making the story come alive. I focused on making the events that I wrote about real to the reader. I mixed facts and information to make the essay informative while being enjoyable. This piece was for a History DAR Contest. The prompt was “Memoirs of Paul Revere”. We were told to take it any way and write about Paul Revere’s life. I decided to mainly write about the Boston Tea Party because most people do not associate Paul Revere with that, rather with his famous “The British are Coming!” horse ride. I worked very hard on this essay and enjoyed writing it. Before I even began writing, I spent a lot of time researching Paul Revere so I could truly get a feel for what his life was like. While I was writing, I concentrated on using a combination of figurative language, interesting details, and facts to result in an essay that would appeal to most people. I wanted to produce a piece of writing that people would enjoy reading while learning about Paul Revere. I feel that the end result is excellent, and I am extremely proud of it.