The Boston Tea Party:
A Pivotal Moment in America’s History and the Continued Fascination and Love of this Wonderful Beverage, Tea.
To me, the Boston Tea Party, conjures up visions of Boston Harbour turning into a sea of;
‘Black Gold’, a most precious commodity, a sought after beverage, a treasure of the East!
The Procurers, The Importers, The East India Company, with hopes of vast wealth from the sale of the tea, see it disappearing and muddying the waters, the water becoming polluted and black, an ocean, a harbour, of tea!
Well , my imagination may be a little overboard in regard to loose tea being thrown, overboard! Mmm.. play on words here, for I believe the tea was packed in chests, one which survives and is on show at the ‘Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum’, in Boston. Of course these chests all broke down in the water eventually, but not like my dramatic vision of the water running in black gold!
Source: W.D. Cooper. Boston Tea Party in The History of North America. London: E. Newberry, 1789. Engraving. Plate opposite p. 58. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (40) (From Wikipedia )
So, Why did this Happen?
Shall we start with the date of this really quite an amazing event in the history of the colonisation of America.
Taxation without Representation! Was the call.
It was the first organised act of rebellion against British rule, an act that directly led to the start of the American Revolution on the 19th April, 1775, an act of defiance in the face of tyranny.
On the sixteenth of December, 1773, Boston Harbour. Massachusetts:
Three British ships were docked, full of chests of tea. According to history, 342 chests! The ships; the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver. Each ship carried roughly a little over, 100 chests, 92,000 pounds of tea, in total!
How big were these chests and how much tea did they contain?
My calculation: 92,000 pounds, divided by 342 chests = 269 pounds per chest, that’s quite a lot per chest!
The British had imposed a huge tax on the tea which needed to be paid within a certain period of time once the ships had docked in Boston Harbour and the tea would be unloaded onto the wharf. This tax was huge, equating to over a million dollars today!
The tea came from China and from what I have read it was called; Bohea, the name given at that time to black tea, but I believe some green tea was packed as well. A group of people, calling themselves, The Sons of Liberty, led by Samuel Adams, and from what I have read , disguised as Mohawk Indians, boarded the three ships.
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I haven’t read all these glorious books except the first one, I have just received this book, it’s beautiful, full of wonderful informative, dialogue and interspersed with beautiful, interesting, historic, pictures, drawings and paintings. A quality book with pages thick and glossy, a fabulous read, informative and educational.
The Sons of Liberty.
They were, to me, ethical people, they had integrity, driven and focussed, great loyalists to this new country, America and again from what I have read, intent only on damaging, destroying the tea, nothing else was damaged and no loss of life, an amazing feat really and definitely focussed on making their point. Why to me ethical, showing integrity?
Well from what I have read, there was to be no personal gain, re grabbing the tea for themselves, etc. but from their perception, they were making a stand, it was meant to be for the greater good of their country!
So, with a definite lack of, Bohea tea, the inventful, resourceful, American ladies, looked to their gardens, their vegetable patches, their orchards, the wild flowers growing in the fields, to discover, to try and create their own teas!
Mmm.. well what teas did these ladies produce, I believe there was much to learn from the locally grown herbs used by the Indians.
Chamomile, Raspberry and Wild American Sage are mentioned in the book; ‘20,000 Secrets of Tea’, Author; V Zaks.
Virtually anything growing in their gardens were considered , blueberries, apples, lemons, strawberries, roses, raspberries, peppermint, lavender and rosemary, the leaves and/or the flowers and fruit, were steeped fresh or dried to be used as required.
Let’s look at Sage, the herb of Wisdom and Longevity.
A native of the Mediterranean, an aromatic plant with soft, greyish, green leaves, with spires of purple flowers in the warmer months. The American Sage is prized and imported by China where the root is used to strengthen the heart and so improving circulation.
As I research the wonderful world of herbal teas, I find that many of the herbs universally, give similar benefits for our minds and bodies. Really just as our teas from the Camellia Sinensis plant restore and revive us.
Full of antioxidants, healing powers, preventative powers, relaxing powers, restoring powers.
And so importantly, they just taste amazing. the best and easiest way to get nutrients, antioxidants, anti inflammatories, into our bodies, settle that upset digestive tract, boost our feelings of wellness and alertness, the list goes on and on.
Kakuzō Okakura, ‘The Book of Tea’, stated tea was a medicine before a beverage and we, all who enjoy our teas reap the benefits, the pleasure of sipping our cup of tea and the knowledge of the goodness it is giving us, physically, mindfully and spiritually.
To the Pleasure of Tea and Its Amazing History !
‘The Book of Tea’ Author: Kakuzō Okakura
‘20,000 Secrets of Tea’ Author: Victoria Zak
Please visit this amazing website and visit physically as well, I am not telling any American anything new, I realise this. I would personally love to visit, to see this place in Boston, Massachusetts myself! This is purely sharing what I have learned, I am not an Affiliate of this Museum.
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