J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tea Party Talk on 11 Oct, Siege Walk on 20 Oct

Tonight the Old South Meeting-House hosts a talk by local historian Robert Allison on the Boston Tea Party. The historic site’s announcement reads in part:

The Department Chair in History at Suffolk University, Allison says of the Tea Act that preceded the protests in the colonies, “This was a corporate bail-out [for the East India Company], and an attempt by Parliament to get control of the Company. The reaction in the American colonies grew out of this. Americans knew that the East India Company had taken over the government of India, that the wealth of India was now being directed into the coffers of the Company, and that Bengal had been suffering a famine. If the Company, and Parliament, were allowed the same control of North America, the lives and liberties of Americans would be sacrificed to the greed of the East India Company.”
I was surprised to read that Americans were aware of events in Bengal, but when I checked the newspapers of 1773 there were indeed essays talking about the tyranny of the East India Company on the other side of the world. Those writers didn’t go into detail, and probably wouldn’t have cared if they hadn’t been trying to make a point about how rapacious the company might be toward America. But still, it’s interesting to see Americans taking an interest in Asia that early.

The free evening program begins at 6:30 P.M. on Thursday, October 11. It comes in connection with Prof. Allison’s new book on the Tea Party.

Old South has also announced a certain brand of tea as “the Official Tea of the 234th Boston Tea Party Reenactment.” This tea company was founded in 1892, so it has no connection to the original tea. (Though, oddly enough, last year a commenter tried to claim it did.) This sponsorship is yet another example of how the weakness of public funding for public institutions has sent advertising into every aspect of our culture. That said, if the Yorkshire Gold tea brand wishes to become the official tea of Boston 1775, it has only to send a year’s supply.

In other news, Boston 1775 reader Robert C. Mitchell alerted me to this event later in the month, sponsored by Walk Boston.
Sat. Oct 20
George Washington’s Warpaths
9:00 am | 6 hrs | 10 mi | Accessible | Free to all
Follow the routes linking Bunker Hill, the forts defending Boston during the British siege of 1775, and the showdown at Dorchester Heights.
Transit: MBTA Orange Line to Community College Station
Meet: Community College Station
Reservations required | Call WalkBoston at 617.367.9255
But I’m sure Boston 1775 readers know that there was no “British siege” in 1775-76; the British were besieged by the Continental Army, and the forts “defending Boston” were in British hands.


Janice said...

What kind of tea, exactly, was destroyed during the Boston Tea Party?


J. L. Bell said...

I discussed that question back here.