Yesterday guest blogger Chris Hurley promised untold details about the dumping of a barrel of tea in Charlestown in January 1774. That incident was reported in Massachusetts newspapers with no names attached. This posting picks up the story.
Boston Jany 25 1774Cyrus Baldwin’s property had been stolen. But because his property was tea, who would be sympathetic to his complaint?
On the 4th Instant I was sending a quantity of Goods to my brother Mr Loammi Baldwin at Woburn & pack’d a bag containing 26 lb. Bohea Tea into a Barrel not for secrecy but for safety of conveyance. In the evening the Team was stoped just on this side Winter hill and the driver interogated by three or four men who called themselves a Commitee of Suspiscion for Charlestown: what goods he had & whether any Tea? To which he answered generally that he knew nothing what goods were in the Cart. Upon which they insisted upon probing, & abused and drove off the Teamster, broke open the cask that contained the Tea, carry'd off the bag with the Tea—& some other articles are missing.
I cannot harbour the least suspicion that any Gentlemen of Charlestown, much less any of the respectable Committe of Correspondance were knowing to or any way incouraging such high handed Villany, yet as they assumed the character of a Committee from the Town of Charlestown I think it my incumbant duty to the Inhabitants of Charlestown to inform you of the above particulars, not doubting but you will properly resent such Wickedness perpetuated in the name of the Town, & if it is in your power, promise me satisfaction for my loss.Why ask the Charlestown Committee for redress? Why not go to the Law?
I think it not proper or advisable to make a public stir about it just at present, least the Enemies to the good cause which we have imbarked in should triumph in our Divisions. But unless a speedy & intire stop be put to such attacks upon private property we shall fall into a greater Evil than we are endeavouring to avoid.The Charlestown Committee did answer quickly.
All which is submitted to your wisdom and confidence.
Your most respectfull and obediant Humble Serv't,
I shall inteem it a favour you'd return an answer as soon as convenience will permitt.
TOMORROW: Cyrus Baldwin can’t get no satisfaction.