Monday, December 14, 2015
Boston Tea Party
Earlier this week, I heard something about the scheduled re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party. Hmm, I thought. That sounds like something I should check into. Yes, yes, I know that the Boston Tea Party wasn't truly a tea party. As we all learned in school, it was a rebellion against the tax that had been imposed on tea, in 1793. Three ships owned by the East India Company sailed into Boston.. full of tea. The colonists wouldn't let the ships unload their cargo... and then they boarded the ships and threw the tea overboard.
But still --- Tea Party.
So I quickly found my way to the website - and just as quickly discovered that the event is held on December 16th every year, and that for this year, the event was sold out.
You're kidding me. A tea party -- and I'm not invited???
But before I could get too pouty, I found myself on a page with a short history of the tea party, and while I already knew what it was about, I figured I'd take a gander.
And I discovered that one of the captains of one of the ships had pretty much been caught between a rock and a hard place. The colonists wanted him to leave, and he was ready to return to England and let the East India Company sort things out... you know, one of those 'above my paygrade' sorts of things. Unfortunately, the Governor had announced that no one was allowed to leave Boston Harbor, without his permission. The captain who wanted to leave asked for permission, but of course the Governor turned him down. The entrance to Boston Harbor was protected by an armed fort, and it would have been impossible to sail out of the harbor without being fired upon. So there the captain sat, and the other two ships sat with him.
That was very interesting, and it added another layer to what I thought had been a pretty simple situation.
But still -- no room at the Tea Party for me?
And then I read on a bit further. You know those colonists? This was no hot-headed impulse sort of thing. They planned things out, and they had a number of meetings before they dumped the tea. There were only about five or six hundred registered voters, but the organizers knew that they were due to get quite a crowd at the meeting, so they announced that the first meeting would be in Faneuil Hall - which would accommodate about 1300 people. But as the time for the meeting approached, and the crowd grew well beyond expected numbers, the organizers quickly adjourned the meeting and reconvened at the Old South Meeting House. Estimates vary, but it's pretty clear that there were at least five THOUSAND people at that meeting, and the subsequent meeting were a bit more.
Oh my. The fact that there was no room at the meeting to plan the Tea Party kind of trivializes the fact that there's no room at the Tea Party itself.
Still. No room at the Tea Party for me? I think I'll pout and go have a cup of tea.