Facts you may not know about the Tea Party
An error in the list of participants?
The most commonly reproduced list of the participants arguably has an error. One of the participants in this list is Thomas Young. But according to a historic document that describes the proceedings at the Old South Meeting-House during the time when the destruction of tea occurred, Mr. Young was addressing the crowd lecturing about the medicinal risks of drinking tea.
A cup of ‘Balsamic hyperion’ anyone?
While boycotting British imports, the Americans relied not only on smuggled goods but also attempted to find substitutes made from native products. These included ‘Labrador tea’, which was made from the leaves of a plant that flourished in the colonies, and ‘Balsamic hyperion’, made from dried raspberry leaves.
William - the fourth tea ship that never made it to Boston
In the autumn of 1773 there were four not three ships sent to Boston with the tea cargo, Dartmouth, Eleanor, Beaver and William. But William never reached Boston. It had run aground and was stranded near Cape Cod. Read more about the Tea Party ships.
Tea smuggling also flourished in Britain
One may think that in 1770s only the colonies were getting robbed by the East India Tea Company monopoly. In fact tea drinkers in Britain were getting the same deal with East India being the only legal importer. As a result, tea smuggling flourished in Britain as well as in the colonies.
The ships were not British, only the tea was
In many texts the Beaver and the Dartmouth are called “British ships”. In fact both were owned by the Rotch family from Nantucket whose offices were located at the foot of Main Street in the brick building now called The Pacific Club.
Protesters swept the docks afterwards
The destruction of tea was not a violent protest. The ships’ crews attested that nothing had been damaged or destroyed except the tea - and the protesters swept the decks clean afterwards. The Massachusetts Gazette even reported that when it was realized that a padlock that had been broken was the personal property of one of the ships’ captains, a replacement was procured and sent to him.
Inland Tea Party
The actual location of the B.T.P. was not where the official Boston Tea Party ship museum is located. Because of the massive landfill projects in the Boston Harbor, the most likely location is now the intersection of Congress and Purchase streets.
Most participants left Boston shortly after the protest
Most of the participants had to leave Boston to avoid being arrested. Not that the Mohawk disguise was not good, but the Suns of Liberty organization that most conspirators belonged to had a British spy as one of its top leaders.
The destroyed tea was from China, not India.
The tea destroyed in Boston Harbor that was imported by the East India Tea Company was not actually from India but … from China. The destroyed tea was of a so-called “Bohea” type, which was used for the black tea grown in Mountains in Fujian Province, China.